Originally created 04/28/04

Break between series not a new thing for the Nets



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New Jersey Nets aren't worried about losing momentum while they wait to play the winner of the first-round playoff series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons.

"We've been there, done that," Richard Jefferson said Tuesday when the Nets returned to practice.

New Jersey wrapped up its first-round series Sunday with a sweep of the New York Knicks.

Detroit holds a 3-1 lead in its series with Milwaukee. If the Pistons eliminate the Bucks in Game 5 on Thursday, the Nets expect the second round to start Monday.

That would be eight days between games for the Nets.

"You just try to keep your wind up and come in and work on your game, and get better as a team," forward Kenyon Martin said of the down time. "Don't pace yourself. Come in and work hard every day and try to keep your edge."

The Nets know how to handle long breaks. In the conference finals last year, New Jersey swept the Pistons after a six-day break between the second and third rounds.

The Nets also had a 10-day break between the end of the conference finals and the start of the NBA Finals against San Antonio.

While New Jersey lost Game 1 to the Spurs, that was more the result of Tim Duncan contributing 32 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks for San Antonio.

"We have been in this position, so we understand what it's all about," All-Star point guard Jason Kidd said. "I don't think the wait will hurt."

The time off actually should help Kidd and Martin, who were sidelined late in the season with left knee problems.

Martin looked miserable Tuesday, in large part to a bad head cold.

"Better now than later," he said.

Nets coach Lawrence Frank said all the scouting and game reports are finished on the Bucks and Pistons, and added he wasn't concentrating on Detroit.

"I don't want to put the team in a position where you are preparing for Detroit and it's someone else," Frank said.

The Nets watched game film of their series against the Knicks on Tuesday and held a competitive shooting contest before the media was allowed in.

Lucious Harris seemed to be celebrating when the results were announced.

"Right now we're trying to balance getting ready and keeping an edge," Frank said.

Against Eastern Conference foes, that has not been a problem for the Nets. They have won 14 straight postseason games against Eastern opponents.

"I think our guys take it to another level," Frank said. "All good teams take it to another level."