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NEW YORK — In New Jersey’s 37-point cliffhanging loss to the Raptors, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter combined for their first career triple single — nine points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

Was Mikki Moore that good?

Carter followed up his 6-for-21 effort from the field against the now 0-3 Bulls (I blame Jelly Bean and Pam Bryant) with a 2-6 effort normally held in reserve for trips to Toronto.

Is this any way to reward owner Bruce Ratner for committing $80 million guaranteed over five seasons?

Lawrence Frank was smart to get cozy with Kidd when he replaced Bryon Scott, flaunting zero contract and status clout.

He sold what was left of his soul to Carter when he arrived in New Jersey. Their communal-admiration society remains rigid; whenever anything goes wrong the two stars go out of their way to protect Frank by assuming responsibility.

While that’s all very commendable, the time has come, let’s be frank, for Lawrence to stop kissing ass and start injecting some tough love and discipline into the relationship before it matters that Richard Jefferson and less productive members of the team are grumbling about the double standard.

* * * * *

Stephon Marbury found Jesus this summer. He promises to locate his man on defense before the Knicks launch their spring offensive.

I would’ve thought someone on the Knicks’ considerable coaching staff could’ve concocted a concept to impede Daniel Gibson from getting another trifecta after he downed his first four or five?

At last count, Marbury was smoked by Daniel, Bob and the ghosts of Josh and Althea.

I warned Isiah Thomas that Marbury and Nate Robinson couldn’t play together.

Or was it Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph?

One way or the other, the False Prophet let Friday night’s game get away from him in the fourth quarter; I hate when so-called professional coaches allow that to happen.

Feeble substitutions, unsavory shot selection and shoddy clock management led to numerous inexorable fast-break opportunities.

Why re-insert Marbury after nine minutes of sitting when his head clearly wasn’t in the courtroom?

I mean, other than not to lose the cooperation of his partner in crime for the next season or two?

* * * * *

Shaquille O’Neal is on pace to average almost as many personal fouls (11) as points (17). It doesn’t get any more depressing than being looked off by Ricky Davis and Daequan Cook.

In two games, Shaq shot, 8-for-19 from the field, misfired on six of seven at the line, inhaled 14 rebounds and committed 10 turnovers.

The race is on to see whether O’Neal gets to double-figures in legitimate points before Travis Henry gets to double figures in illegitimate kids.

In tribute to Shaq, Emeka Okafor missed 10 of 13 free throws, but the Bobcats (22-for-43 FT) managed to edge the Bucks (10-for-14) by three.

Watching the Cats shoot unmolested 5-meter jumpers has replaced waterboarding as “sports” cruelest form of torture.

* * * * *

Jarvis Hayes scored three fourth-quarter baskets and chased down a bad miss by Chauncey Billups with 16.6 seconds left to put the Pistons in position to beat the on-the-rise Hawks.

When Josh Smith, a 70 percenter, serenely dropped three straight free throws at the 7.7 mark to deadlock matters, I immediately took back half of what I’ve written about him over the last three years.

That late whistle you just heard was a referee bailing out Billups on the very next (and last) possession when he took Marvin Williams to the hoop. Mr. Big Shot was fortunate to make the first.

* * * * *

Ben Wallace, who banks $15 million a year for the Bulls, corralled two rebounds in 27 minutes against the Bucks. Not a bad output considering there were only 101 missed shots available.

He also excelled at the line, hitting one of two. Imagine Ben’s production had Scott Skiles kept his anti-headband policy in effect.

How gone are the Sonics from Seattle?

The Irsay family just recommended a moving company.

Peter Vecsey covers the NBA for the New York Post.

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