EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Jason Kidd got the Nets back into the Eastern Conference semifinals by doing what he does best: a bit of everything.
Kidd had his 11th postseason triple-double, breaking a tie with Larry Bird for second place on the career list, and the Nets beat Cleveland, 96-85, yesterday to cut the Cavaliers' lead in the series to two games to one.
Kidd, who is averaging a triple-double in this postseason, finished with 23 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds. For good measure, he even took some turns defending LeBron James, who was limited to 18 points.
Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson also scored 23 points for the Nets, who won their 10th straight home game and will try to even the series tomorrow night in Game 4 before the series returns to Cleveland for Game 5 on Wednesday.
James was just 5 of 16 from the field and failed to score at least 20 points for the first time in his 20 playoff games. He added 12 assists but looked frustrated late in the game after hitting the bottom of the rim on a reverse layup attempt.
Most important for New Jersey, the Nets controlled the backboards after the Cavs pummeled them in the first two games, piling up a 100-69 rebounding advantage, including 39-12 on the offensive end.
This time, New Jersey held a 43-30 edge and limited Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas to a combined 12 rebounds.
The Nets have never recovered to win any of the 11 previous series they trailed by 2-0, but the odds would have been much worse with a loss yesterday. NBA teams that lose the first three games are 0 for 81.
New Jersey saw its 15-point lead trimmed to four early in the fourth, but scored eight straight points to regain control and hand the Cavs their first loss of this postseason.
Spurs 108, Suns 101
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Tim Duncan had 33 points - 13 in the fourth quarter - and 19 rebounds to lead San Antonio to a victory over Phoenix and a two-games-to-one lead in the second-round series.
Manu Ginobili also had the kind of night San Antonio needed after poor performances in Games 1 and 2. Despite a bloodied eye, he had 24 points, including 10 in less than two minutes in the third quarter.
Phoenix point guard Steve Nash was scoreless in the first half and finished with 16 points. He had 10 points in the fourth, but it wasn't enough as the Suns only got as close as 99-93 with 3 minutes, 22 seconds left.
Game 4 is tomorrow night in San Antonio.