2001–02 New Jersey Nets season

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2001–02 New Jersey Nets season
Conference Champions
Division Champions
Head coach Byron Scott
Owner(s) Yankee Global Enterprises LLC
Arena Continental Airlines Arena
Results
Record 52–30 (.634)
Place Division: 1st (Atlantic)
Conference: 1st (Eastern)
Playoff finish NBA Finals
(eliminated 0–4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television Fox Sports Net New York, WLNY
Radio WFAN
< 2000–01 2002–03 >

The 2001–02 season saw the Nets finishing first in the Eastern Conference with 52 win and 30 losses, their best record since joining the NBA after the ABA–NBA merger in 1976. As of 2016, this was the only season where the Nets won 50 or more games.

In the offseason, the Nets acquired All-Star point guard Jason Kidd from the Phoenix Suns.[1] Kidd was credited for most of turn-around—the Nets had finished 26–56 the previous year—and finished second to the Spurs' Tim Duncan in MVP voting,[2] and was selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game.

Under Kidd's guidance, the young Nets team prospered through the playoffs and ended up advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference title and the franchise's first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals. In the first round, they defeated the Indiana Pacers then defeated the Charlotte Hornets in the semifinals. They then defeated the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, New Jersey's season would end without an improbable NBA crown, as Kidd and the Nets were swept in four games by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers. Following the season, Keith Van Horn was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Draft picks[edit]

Main article: 2001 NBA Draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 7 Eddie Griffin Forward  United States Seton Hall
2 35 Brian Scalabrine Forward  United States USC

Roster[edit]

New Jersey Nets roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY–MM–DD) From
G 1 United States Armstrong, Brandon 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 188 lb (85 kg) Pepperdine
C 35 United States Collins, Jason 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 255 lb (116 kg) Stanford
G 12 United States Harris, Lucious 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Long Beach State
F 24 United States Jefferson, Richard 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 222 lb (101 kg) Arizona
G 8 United States Johnson, Anthony 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) College of Charleston
G 5 United States Kidd, Jason 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 204 lb (93 kg) California
G 30 United States Kittles, Kerry 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 179 lb (81 kg) Villanova
C 11 United States MacCulloch, Todd 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 280 lb (127 kg) Washington
F 13 United States Marshall, Donny 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Connecticut
F 6 United States Martin, Kenyon 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 234 lb (106 kg) Cincinnati
F 21 United States Scalabrine, Brian 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 241 lb (109 kg) Southern California
F 44 United States Van Horn, Keith 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Utah
F/C 34 United States Williams, Aaron 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 222 lb (101 kg) Xavier
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Depth Chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Todd MacCulloch Jason Collins
PF Kenyon Martin Aaron Williams Brian Scalabrine
SF Keith Van Horn Richard Jefferson Donny Marshall
SG Kerry Kittles Lucious Harris
PG Jason Kidd Anthony Johnson Brandon Armstrong

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-New Jersey Nets 52 30 .634 33–8 19–22 16–8
x-Boston Celtics 49 33 .598 3 27–14 22–19 17–7
x-Orlando Magic 44 38 .537 8 27–14 17–24 12–12
x-Philadelphia 76ers 43 39 .524 9 22–19 21–20 14–11
Washington Wizards 37 45 .451 15 22–19 15–26 12–13
Miami Heat 36 46 .439 16 18–23 18–23 10–14
New York Knicks 30 52 .366 22 19–22 11–30 4–20
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-New Jersey Nets 52 30 .634
2 y- Detroit Pistons 50 32 .610 2
3 x-Boston Celtics 49 33 .598 3
4 x-Charlotte Hornets 44 38 .537 8
5 x-Orlando Magic 44 38 .537 8
6 x- Philadelphia 76ers 43 39 .524 9
7 x-Toronto Raptors 42 40 .512 10
8 x-Indiana Pacers 42 40 .512 10
9 Milwaukee Bucks 41 41 .500 11
10 Washington Wizards 37 45 .451 15
11 Miami Heat 36 46 .439 16
12 Atlanta Hawks 33 49 .402 19
13 New York Knicks 30 52 .366 22
14 Cleveland Cavaliers 29 53 .354 23
15 Chicago Bulls 21 61 .256 31

Game log[edit]

2001–02 game log
Total: 52–30 (Home: 33–8; Road: 19–22)
2001–02 season schedule

Playoffs[edit]

East First Round[edit]

(1) New Jersey Nets vs. (8) Indiana Pacers Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Nets and Pacers.

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(NJN-IND)

Venue TV Time (EST) Recap
1 April 20 Indiana 89 New Jersey 83 0-1 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey NBC 12:30 Recap
2 April 22 Indiana 79 New Jersey 95 1-1 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey TNT 7:00 Recap
3 April 26 New Jersey 85 Indiana 84 2-1 Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis TNT 8:30 Recap
4 April 30 New Jersey 74 Indiana 98 2-2 Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis TNT 7:00 Recap
5** May 2 Indiana 109 New Jersey 120 3-2 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey TNT 7:00 Recap
New Jersey wins series 3–2

Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) New Jersey Nets vs. (4) Charlotte Hornets Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Nets and Hornets.

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(NJN-CHA)

Venue TV Time Recap
1 May 5 Charlotte 93 New Jersey 99 1-0 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey NBC 12:30et Recap
2 May 7 Charlotte 88 New Jersey 102 2-0 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey TBS 8:00et Recap
3 May 9 New Jersey 97 Charlotte 115 2-1 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte TNT 7:00et Recap
4 May 12 New Jersey 89 Charlotte 79 3-1 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte NBC 12:30et Recap
5 May 15 Charlotte 95 New Jersey 103 4-1 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey TNT 8:00et Recap
New Jersey wins series 4–1

Conference Finals[edit]

(1) New Jersey Nets vs. (3) Boston Celtics Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Nets and Celtics.

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(NJN-BOS)

Venue TV Time Recap
1 May 19 Boston 97 New Jersey 104 1-0 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey NBC 5:30et Recap
2 May 21 Boston 93 New Jersey 86 1-1 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey TNT 8:00et Recap
3 May 25 New Jersey 90 Boston 94 1-2 FleetCenter, Boston NBC 5:30et Recap
4 May 27 New Jersey 94 Boston 92 2-2 FleetCenter, Boston NBC 5:30et Recap
5 May 29 Boston 92 New Jersey 103 3-2 Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey NBC 9:00et Recap
6 May 31 New Jersey 96 Boston 88 4-2 FleetCenter, Boston NBC 7:00et Recap
New Jersey wins Eastern Conference Championship series 4–2

NBA Finals[edit]

Summary[edit]

The following scoring summary is written in a line score format, except that the quarter numbers are replaced by game numbers.

Team Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Wins
Los Angeles (West) 99 106 106 113 4
New Jersey (East) 94 83 103 107 0

Aspects[edit]

Amid tensions between co-captains Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, the franchise had another stellar season, finishing 58–24 (.707), good for second in the Pacific Division and earning the third seed in the Western Conference. Bryant and O'Neal were voted starters in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, where Bryant won the game MVP trophy in his hometown Philadelphia.[3] The duo appeared on the All-NBA First Team and Bryant was honored with a Second-Team All-Defensive Team selection.[4][5]

Entering the 2001–02 season, the New Jersey Nets were enduring a three-year playoff drought and had a 73–141 record over that span. In 1999, the Nets hired Rod Thorn as team president and immediately, he hired the recently retired Byron Scott to coach New Jersey. Thorn then dealt for Stephon Marbury in a three-team trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves, trading Sam Cassell away to the Bucks.[6] Due to the Nets' 31–51 season in 1999–00 season, they had the first overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, which they used to select power forward Kenyon Martin out of the University of Cincinnati.[7] Despite the reshuffling of the roster and a Rookie of the Year season for Martin, New Jersey struggled, ending the season with a 26–56 (.317) record, and were bestowed the 7th pick in the upcoming Draft.

With another lottery pick, Thorn dealt it to the Houston Rockets for draftees Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong.[6] The next day, Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo announced a franchise-shaking trade; Phoenix would swap their point guard Jason Kidd for his New Jersey counterpart Stephon Marbury.[8]

With the Princeton offense installed from the coaching staff,[9] the Nets rebounded to a 52–30 (.634) mark, a twenty-six-win improvement from the last season, and clinched the number-one seed in the Eastern Conference. Kidd finished the season awarded with first team spots on both the All-NBA[4] and All-Defensive Teams[5] and was selected for his fifth All-Star game. He also finished runner-up to San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan in the Most Valuable Player voting.[10] Richard Jefferson was an All-Rookie second team selection and Thorn, the architect of the franchise's resurgence, was awarded NBA Executive of the Year.[11]

Game One[edit]

Wednesday, June 5, 2002, 6:00 at the Staples Center.

Los Angeles's Staples Center sold out for the inaugural game of the 2002 NBA Finals, with nearly 19,000 on hand. The Nets trotted out a lineup of Kidd, Kittles, Martin, Van Horn and MacCulloth to hold up against the two-time defending and heavily favored champions. The Lakers brought out Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Shaquille O'Neal, Robert Horry, and Kobe Bryant, who drew the assignment of guarding Kidd. New Jersey head coach Byron Scott, a member of the Showtime Lakers, received a standing ovation.

Taking advantage of a late arrival to the arena by New Jersey, L.A. dominated the first 17 minutes of play with a 42-19 score by the 6:41 mark in the second quarter. From that point on, the Nets went on a 17–6 to close the lead to a respectable 12. They had no answer for O'Neal, however, who had bullied MacCulloth into 16 points and 6 rebounds by half-time. The Nets outscored the Lakers in the third but stood steadfast as Bryant scored 11 of his 22 in the third.

" You can't dig yourself a hole, get down by 19 or 20 points and expect to win. We just dug ourselves a hole against the champions. "

—Lucious Harris, Sports Illustrated[12]

New Jersey battled back, coming as close as three several times in the final quarter. Desperate to take the lead, they utilized the "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy midway in the fourth. It backfired, as O'Neal was 5–8 from the free throw line and had 16 points and 9 rebounds in the period alone.

New Jersey was doomed by their late start and poor shooting. The Nets, who shot 45% from the field and 74% on free throws were 39% and 57% respectively.[13] Kidd finished with a triple–double, the 26th in Finals history and the first since Charles Barkley's in the 1993 series.

Recap

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. Total
New Jersey 14 22 27 31 91
Los Angeles 29 19 24 27 99

Game Two[edit]

Friday, June 7, 2002, 6:00 at the Staples Center.

The second game was more of a statement as the Lakers clobbered the Nets by a score of 106-83 thanks to Shaquille O'Neal's 40 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Recap

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. Total
New Jersey 21 22 18 22 83
Los Angeles 27 22 28 29 106

Game Three[edit]

Sunday, June 9, 2002, 8:30 at the Continental Airlines Arena.

Game Three would prove to a hard fought game (much like the first game of the series) as the Lakers and Nets would trade leads throughout the game but thanks to Kobe Bryant's 36 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks the Lakers prevail by a score of 106-103 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Recap

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. Total
Los Angeles 31 21 26 28 106
New Jersey 23 23 32 25 103

Game Four[edit]

Wednesday, June 12, 2002, 9:00 at the Continental Airlines Arena.

Despite this being a hard fought battle (much like the previous game and as well as the first game of the series) the Lakers still won game four and the championship, giving Phil Jackson his Red Auerbach-tying ninth title and the Lakers their third consecutive title (and fourteenth overall) making them the fifth team to win three consecutive titles and denying the Nets their first ever championship since the franchise moved to East Rutherford.

Recap

Team 1st Qt. 2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt. Total
Los Angeles 27 31 26 29 113
New Jersey 34 23 23 27 107

Player stats[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Armstrong, BrandonBrandon Armstrong 35 0 5.6 .318 .294 .500 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.0 1.8
Collins, JasonJason Collins 77 9 18.3 .421 .500 .701 3.9 1.1 0.4 0.6 4.5
Dial, DerrickDerrick Dial 25 0 10.0 .319 .000 .722 1.8 1.2 0.3 0.2 2.9
Goodrich, SteveSteve Goodrich 9 0 5.6 .200 .000 .500 0.6 0.6 0.1 0.2 0.6
Harris, LuciousLucious Harris 74 0 21.0 .464 .373 .842 2.8 1.6 0.7 0.1 9.1
Jefferson, RichardRichard Jefferson 79 9 24.3 .457 .232 .713 3.7 1.8 0.8 0.6 9.4
Johnson, AnthonyAnthony Johnson 34 0 10.8 .411 .333 .640 0.9 1.4 0.9 0.0 2.8
Kidd, JasonJason Kidd 82 82 37.3 .391 .321 .814 7.3 9.9 2.1 0.2 14.7
Kittles, KerryKerry Kittles 82 82 31.7 .466 .405 .744 3.4 2.6 1.6 0.4 13.4
MacCulloch, ToddTodd MacCulloch 62 61 24.2 .531 .000 .671 6.1 1.3 0.4 1.4 9.7
Marshall, DonnyDonny Marshall 20 0 5.9 .276 .500 .667 1.1 0.3 0.2 0.0 1.5
Martin, KenyonKenyon Martin 73 73 34.3 .463 .224 .678 5.3 2.6 1.2 1.7 14.9
Scalabrine, BrianBrian Scalabrine 28 0 10.4 .343 .300 .733 1.8 0.8 0.3 0.1 2.1
Slater, ReggieReggie Slater 4 0 2.5 1.000 .000 1.000 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.3
Van Horn, KeithKeith Van Horn 81 81 30.4 .433 .345 .800 7.5 2.0 0.8 0.5 14.8
Williams, AaronAaron Williams 82 13 18.9 .526 .000 .699 4.1 0.9 0.4 0.9 7.2

Postseason[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG

Awards and records[edit]

References[edit]