Carter, Nets Grab 12th Straight Home Win
New Jersey 96, New York 83
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Feb. 8 (Ticker) -- Even after a couple of early blows to Vince Carter and Jason Kidd, the New Jersey Nets had little trouble continuing their torrid home winning streak.
Despite briefly losing their two superstars to injuries early in the game, the Nets rolled to their 12th straight home victory with a 96-83 win over the struggling New York Knicks, who have lost seven straight.
"It was just a scratch," Kidd said. "When I saw the blood, I didn't know how bad it was. It was an accident. I stuck my head out and Crawford came back. I saw butterflies."
With two minutes left in the period, Carter was elbowed in the face by teammate Scott Padgett under the basket and briefly left the game.
"I was seeing stars," Carter said. "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. After the elbow, I don't remember what happened."
Carter returned in the final seconds and keyed a dominant second quarter for the Nets, who made 12-of-18 shots from the floor and had 11 assists in the period.
The Nets seized control with a 13-2 run late in the first half. Nenad Krstic buried a pair of jumpers and Clifford Robinson capped the burst with a 3-pointer to give the Nets a 53-38 cushion with one minute left.
New Jersey was 5-of-5 from the floor during the spurt and dished out five assists, including a pair by Carter.
The Nets continued to pour it on, making 11-of-18 shots, 8-of-10 free throws and collecting 10 more assists in the third quarter. They finished with 31 assists on 34 baskets after recording 32 assists in Monday's victory over the Hornets.
"Everybody is sharing the ball," Kidd said. "Everybody is driving and kicking. When we have that kind of number (31 assists), guys are knocking down shots. It makes things so easy."
Carter essentially sealed the victory with 9:43 remaining in the third, driving to the baseline and making a spinning layup over New York center Eddy Curry from underneath the backboard. He was fouled and sank the ensuing free throw to give the Nets a 62-42 cushion.
"I thought it was probably going to be a hard foul so I was trying to get around it," Carter said. "I was under the basket and just wanted to give it enough english to go in."
"He makes it look so easy," Kidd said. "As a teammate and a fan, it's enjoyable to watch."
The play highlighted a dismal performance from the Knicks, who struggled defensively and stumbled to their 13th loss in 14 games.
"There is no way you can guard if you don't compete," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "We gave up about six or seven plays that will be on highlight film."
New Jersey has not lost at home since December 14 and is within one victory of matching the longest home winning streak in team history, last set from November 18-December 30, 2003.
Carter finished with 22 points and seven assists and Richard Jefferson added 18 and eight for the Nets, who are 14-3 against the Knicks in the regular season since Kidd joined the team in 2001.
"Losses always hurt, especially when you're reeling like we are," Brown said. "It's killing me because I'm the coach and I'm supposed to help us play better. We're not playing better. New Jersey dominated every phase of the game."
Jalen Rose scored 11 of his 22 points in the first quarter to lead the Knicks, who are winless in seven games this season without injured guard Stephon Marbury (bruised shoulder).