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Nets Extend Streaks to 11, 33 and 5

The Nets extended two winning streaks Friday in Atlanta--11 consecutive wins and 33 consecutive wins when leading after the third quarter--and clinched their fifth straight playoff berth as well. But it wasn't easy. New Jersey won, 91-88, when Jason Kidd came out of a game-long funk in the final 40 seconds to ice five straight free throws following a Vince Carter tip-in. Kidd finished the game with 11 points on 1-for-12 shooting, including five misses from downtown, and only two assists. Picking up the slack were the two other members of the Big Three, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson who finished with 26 and 27. Carter, like Kidd, started slowly and then picked up the pace in the second half, going strong to the hole repeatedly. Nenad Krstic, like Kidd, had a subpar night in the scoring column with only four points, but continued his solid rebounding, grabbing eight. In the end, it was the Nets foul shooting and tight defense, particularly Cliff Robinson's coverage on Joe Johnson's three point attempt with 10.3 seconds left, that gave the Nets the second longest winning streak in the team's NBA history. The Hawks had led most of the way and by as many as 11, while the Nets shot just 35 percent (26-for-75) from the floor. Johnson finished with 22, on 9-20 from the floor, while Josh Smith played way above the rim, gathering 17 points and six rebounds while swatting away five Nets shots, several in spectacular fashion.