Baketball: Kidd punishes Pistons with a second to spare

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The Independent Online

Jason Kidd scored with a mere 1.4 seconds left on the clock to give the New Jersey Nets a 76-74 win over the Detroit Pistons in the first game of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals in Michigan on Sunday.

The game was a low-scoring, sluggish affair but an important success for the Nets, who had won only three of their previous 28 games in Detroit's stadium in Auburn Hills. Kidd ended the night with 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who trailed by eight points in the fourth quarter before taking advantage of poor Detroit shooting to grab a 72-65 lead.

The Pistons rallied to tie the game 74-74 with 22 seconds left on a basket by Chauncey Billups, completing a late 7-0 Detroit run.

But Kidd then hit his game-winning basket, New Jersey's first points in more than three minutes, to give the Nets the narrow win. "You want the ball in your hand in crunch time," Kidd said. "The opportunity presented itself and I finally made one."

Kenyon Martin had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, while Richard Jefferson added 11 points and seven rebounds.

"It gives us home-court advantage," the New Jersey coach, Byron Scott, said. "As we always said, we want the first game."

Richard Hamilton scored 24 points to lead the Pistons. Mehmet Okur added 12 points, while Billups wound up with just 11 points, with six assists and five rebounds.