Wed, May 28, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Kidd healing up for finals, but ...

PAIN GAME The guard's right ankle was a concern on Saturday when the Nets won their second consecutive Conference title with their 10th straight playoff victory


New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd, right, drives past Detroit Pistons Chauncey Billups in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.


With Jason Kidd's sprained ankle seemingly not a problem, New Jersey Nets coach Byron Scott was relaxed Monday while talking about a possible matchup against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.

Kidd's right ankle was a major concern for the Nets on Saturday when they won their second straight Eastern Conference title with their 10th straight playoff victory.

Kidd twisted the ankle when he landed on the foot of Detroit center Ben Wallace late in the fourth quarter in Game 4. After a few agonizing minutes that featured Kidd biting on a towel and then talking to trainer Tim Walsh, the All-Star point guard finished the game and the sweep.

For those watching, however, there was reason for concern. Every time Kidd took a jumper, he landed on his left foot to kept weight off the sprained ankle.

"It's still a little sore," Scott said of Kidd's ankle. "It was perfect for us to win the game so he has some time to heal up."

The Nets won't start the NBA Finals until June 4, which gives Kidd 10 days to get healthy.

Kidd won't practice today when the Nets return to work, but he will shoot, Scott said.

"He's fine." Scott said. "Talking to Timmy, he has great strength in it. It is a little swollen, but he'll be OK."

The Nets will need a healthy Kidd if they want to win their first NBA title.

"They are just playing great basketball," Scott said of the Spurs, who had the NBA's best regular-season record. "They have a commanding lead, that's all. They haven't closed it out. You still have to wait and see."

Insisting that he wasn't writing the Dallas Mavericks off, Scott said he is watching the Spurs more closely now that they have taken a 3-1 lead in best-of-seven Western Conference finals.

His big concern, of course, is Duncan.

New Jersey and San Antonio split two games in the regular season with both teams winning at home. Duncan averaged 21 points and 14.5 rebounds.

Power forward Kenyon Martin got the assignment on Duncan in both games. Scott said that probably won't change.

However, Scott said Martin doesn't always play Duncan one-on-one.

"We try to do different things with him," Scott said. "We didn't play him straight up a whole lot. Kenyon did a real good job of getting him out. He didn't let him get to his sweet spot and let him catch it in paint or catch it in the box. He forced him out five or six feet."

Scott said that if the Nets can force Duncan to put the ball on the floor, they can get turnovers.

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