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NBA NEW JERSEY 85 ATLANTA 92 6:53 LEFT, 4TH QTR 9:41PM ET


Extended Box

NEW JERSEY (106) AT ATLANTA (111)

NEW JERSEY REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

GILL F 39 5-12 0-0 0 6 6 1 5 1 1 10 VAN HORN F 40 12-23 4-7 4 3 7 1 5 0 1 29 J WILLIAMS C 34 3-5 5-8 5 3 8 0 5 1 0 11 CASSELL G 42 9-22 17-19 1 0 1 9 4 1 4 36 HARRIS G 15 0-2 1-2 1 2 3 0 6 1 0 1 BURRELL 25 1-9 0-0 1 2 3 2 6 1 1 2 MCILVAINE 14 3-7 0-0 1 1 2 0 3 0 0 6 GATLING 13 1-4 0-0 3 2 5 1 1 1 2 2 MURDOCK 15 4-7 1-2 1 1 2 0 3 1 0 9 EVANS 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 BOYKINS DNP - COACH'S DECISION KITTLES DNP - INJURED RIGHT KNEE SEIKALY DNP - SPRAINED LEFT ANKLE

TOTALS 240 38-91 28-38 17 20 37 14 38 7 9 106 (.418) (.737) TEAM REBS: 17 TOTAL TO: 9(10 PTS)

ATLANTA REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

HENDERSON F 32 5-11 2-2 3 3 6 0 5 1 0 12 ELLIS F 36 7-10 6-10 1 6 7 2 3 0 1 21 MUTOMBO C 32 2-3 1-4 2 3 5 1 6 0 1 5 SMITH G 36 4-9 18-21 0 2 2 4 3 0 2 28 BLAYLOCK G 36 5-13 4-4 1 5 6 6 5 1 2 14 JOHNSON 16 0-2 6-6 0 2 2 2 3 2 4 6 LONG 18 2-4 8-9 1 4 5 0 5 0 3 12 WEST 14 0-2 3-4 1 3 4 0 0 0 0 3 CORBIN 9 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 0 3 0 1 0 GRAY 11 5-10 0-0 3 0 3 0 1 0 1 10 CRAWFORD DNP - COACH'S DECISION MCLEOD DNP - STRAINED LEFT HAMSTRING SHEPPARD DNP - COACH'S DECISION WILLIAMS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 30-66 48-60 12 30 42 15 34 4 15 111 (.455) (.800) TEAM REBS: 15 TOTAL TO: 15(14 PTS)

NEW JERSEY 20 23 31 32 - 106 ATLANTA 27 28 26 30 - 111

BLOCKED SHOTS: NEW JERSEY - MCILVAINE 2, VAN HORN. ATLANTA - MUTOMBO 3, ELLIS, HENDERSON, BLAYLOCK. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: NEW JERSEY 2-9 (.222), VAN HORN 1-1, CASSELL 1-5, BURRELL 0-3. ATLANTA 3-7 (.429), ELLIS 1-1, SMITH 2-3, BLAYLOCK 0-2, GRAY 0-1. TECHNICALS: NEW JERSEY - GILL, BURRELL, ATLANTA - SMITH. OFFICIALS: MARK WUNDERLICH, BERNIE FRYER, BILL KENNEDY. A - 21,194. T - 2:30.


Game Story

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Steve Smith did his talking when it mattered most.

After spending most of the final quarter jawing with former Big Ten rival Kendall Gill, Smith buried a crucial 3-pointer with 98 seconds left to lead the Atlanta Hawks past the New Jersey Nets, 111-106.

Smith finished with 28 points but wasn't finished with Gill. The trash-talking got so bad the pair had an altercation in the runway following the contest. Approximately 50 Georgia Dome security personnel were gathered in the runway following the incident, which one security official said involved Smith and Gill rolling around on the floor.

"Nothing, it ain't nothing," Gill said. "I don't even want to talk about Steve Smith. I wasn't talking to Steve, he was talking to me. I was just trying to be a pro. We just hugged each other goodbye."

Smith initially offered "no comment," but when pressed on what might happen when the teams meet Sunday, Smith conceded, "some games are going to get physical and we will be ready for the challenge."

The game featured 72 personal fouls, a double technical foul, three players fouling out and a pair of serious injuries -- not including the broken nose suffered by Nets All-Star center Jayson Williams.

Williams broke his nose in a collision with Hawks center Dikembe Mutombo with just under seven minutes left. Mutombo denied any wrongdoing, Williams felt otherwise.

"Jayson ran right into my elbow and I just didn't see him," Mutombo said.

"I warned the referees before the game about this," Williams said. "He hit me in the mouth twice before. He broke a nose last night, he broke another tonight. I mean we are in a situation where we should be throwing punches on the floor. ... How much is one man supposed to take? I mean, I turn the other cheek, but jeez, this is ridiculous. ... (NBA deputy commissioner) Russ Granik has to do something before it gets like Jerry Springer out there."

LaPhonso Ellis scored 21 points and Mookie Blaylock added 14 for the Hawks, who shot 60 free throws and improved to 2-0. Atlanta has not lost at home to New Jersey since January 24, 1994, a span of nine games.

"It was a very aggressive and physical game," said Hawks coach Lenny Wilkens. " When it gets like that, players have to play and officials have to make the calls. I mean they have to take control of the game."

Smith's jumper from the left wing offset a gutty performance by Nets point guard Sam Cassell, who scored a career-high 36 points before leaving with a right ankle injury in the final seconds.

Keith Van Horn added 29 points for New Jersey, which was playing its season opener. The Nets, who were without Kerry Kittles (right knee) and Rony Seikaly (left ankle), likely will be without point guards Cassell and Eric Murdock for the rematch in less than 24 hours. That leaves the offense in the hands of 5-5 rookie Earl Boykins.

Cassell's injury was described as "an explosion in his ankle" by Nets coach John Calipari and Murdock was diagnosed with a pulled groin. Murdock already has been ruled out of Sunday's game while Cassell might try to play in a limited capacity.

"Eric is out, Jayson we don't know and Sam is out," Calipari said. "Maybe we started another rivalry. We have one with New York, one with Miami and one with Boston. Maybe now we have one with Atlanta."

"I'm going to get some treatment Sunday morning and try to give my team five or 10 minutes," Cassell said. "I thought it was broken because when I looked at it, it blew up quick."

After opening an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter, Atlanta saw its lead shaved to 100-96 following two free throws by Cassell with 3:32 left. Smith answered with a layup 18 seconds later but Van Horn hit a free throw.

After an exchange of empty possessions, Blaylock sank a pair from the line for a 104-97 lead with 2:26 remaining. Two free throws from Cassell 11 seconds later cut the deficit to five and Ellis added to the momentum by missing two free throws.

The second miss bounced long and Hawks forward Grant Long ran it down. Smith capitalized by burying his 3-pointer from the wing for a 107-99 bulge.

The Nets, who were just 2-of-9 from three-point range, offset a 42-37 rebounding deficit by committing just nine turnovers.

Ellis scored 15 points and Smith and Alan Henderson 10 apiece in the first half, when Atlanta built a 55-43 edge.

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