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NBA Playoff Game Summary - New Jersey at Milwaukee

(Thursday, April 24th)

Final Score: New Jersey 103, Milwaukee 101

Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Rodney Rogers hit the game-winning jumper with 2.0 seconds remaining to lead the New Jersey Nets to a 103-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the Bradley Center.

The Nets lead the best-of-seven matchup, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for Saturday in Milwaukee.

Jason Kidd had 26 points and seven assists, while Kenyon Martin added 23 points and eight rebounds for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who rebounded after losing Game 2 at home, 88-85.

Sam Cassell had 24 points and Tim Thomas chipped in 22 and 11 boards for the Bucks, who were unable to overcome a 19-point deficit in the second half.

Rogers, who had 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench, got his own rebound after missing two free throw attempts with five seconds left to play. Martin tapped the ball back to Rogers, and he went straight up and swished a jumper from the top of the key for the winning basket.

"To lose a playoff game on a (bad) referee call is a disgrace," Bucks head coach George Karl angrily explained. "It's what they have said all along. 'This year we won't let you wrestle on the free throw line, we won't let you push on the free throw line.' We lose a playoff game because Kenyon Martin gets away with murder pushing Anthony Mason on the free throw line."

Gary Payton's desperation three-pointer at the buzzer caromed harmlessly off the rim.

"Rodney was fantastic, especially in the second half," New Jersey head coach Byron Scott stated. "He made some big plays for us. I think that after the missed two free throws, to get a shot like that to put us up was big time and redeemed himself."

The Nets took a 101-94 lead on a Kidd three-pointer with 2:34 left to play. However, seven straight points from the Bucks evened the score. Thomas hit a three-pointer to start the spurt and Toni Kukoc hit a floater in the lane with 27.4 seconds left to play to make it 101-101.

Rogers and Kidd worked the pick-and-roll on the Nets' final possession. Rogers received the ball and drove around Thomas before getting fouled on his way to the basket. Rogers later buried the game-winning field goal in the waning seconds of the game.

"As any good team will do, like them, they made a run. Sam Cassell was great in the third quarter. We took a lot of shots and came back and got a victory," Scott said.

New Jersey used a 10-2 run in the first quarter to open a 23-13 lead. Kidd's basket with 2:59 to play in the first staked the visitors to the 10-point advantage.

Kidd had 12 points and made all four of his shots from the floor, including both of his three-point tries in the opening quarter. The Nets held a 30-20 advantage after 12 minutes of play.

The Nets continued to dominate in the second quarter and scored nine of the first 11 points to open up a 17-point lead. Kerry Kittles scored seven of the nine points to give the visitors a 39-22 lead.

The Nets' lead reached as many as 19 in the second quarter at 50-31. New Jersey held a 54-39 lead at the break behind 21 points from Kidd.

"The first half, I thought defensively we let them have a lot of open shots. We thought the home court would be given to us and you have to earn home court," Karl stated.

The Bucks were lucky not to lose Cassell for the duration of the game after he and Jason Collins were involved in a minor confrontation early in the third quarter. Collins was hit with a technical foul but Cassell, who already received a technical earlier in the game, was not penalized for his actions.

A basket by Cassell helped the Bucks get within 60-54 with just under eight minutes to play in the period. New Jersey responded with the next four points and Kittles' breakaway dunk made it 64-54.

Milwaukee answered with six straight points, including a three-pointer by Cassell that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The Nets, however, still managed to hold a 79-71 lead after three quarters of play despite 17 points from Cassell in the stanza.

The Nets led by 10 midway through the final period until Milwaukee went on a 6-2 run to close within 92-86.

Game Notes

The game featured six technical fouls. Rogers and Collins were each slapped with a technical, while Anthony Mason, Payton, Cassell and Kukoc were all hit with technicals for the Bucks...Milwaukee, which had hit just 15-of-32 free throw attempts (46.9 percent) in the first two games, made 25-of-29 in Game 3...The Nets are looking to win their first playoff series in three tries against Milwaukee...New Jersey hit 8-of-18 three-pointers, while the Bucks only made 6-of-19 attempts from beyond the arc...Kittles had 16 points for the Nets and Desmond Mason had 16 for the Bucks.

04/25 00:17:13 ET

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