Carterís Big Half Gets Nets Past Bucks
New Jersey 89, Milwaukee 85
MILWAUKEE, Feb. 21 (Ticker) -- Vince Carter may have looked like he was hobbled but he certainly didn't play that way.
Carter scored 38 of his 45 points in the second half, including his team's final 14, as the New Jersey Nets rallied from a 16-point deficit to record an 89-85 triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks.
"I rolled my (right) ankle when I stepped on Bobby's (Simmons) foot (in the second quarter)," Carter said. "I was rolling and coach didn't want to take me out, I guess. There was a little pain, I just had to deal with it."
New Jersey trailed, 28-12, in the early stages of the second quarter and were at a 43-34 disadvantage at the break. In the third quarter, Carter got the Nets back in the game when he scored 24 points, matching the most he's ever scored in any quarter.
"When a scorer is going like that, you have to get him the ball," said Nets point guard Jason Kidd, who recorded his 71st career triple double with 12 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. "It puts a lot of pressure on the other team."
"He obviously was real special," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "His intent the last 1:32 to get to the rim was huge. Give Milwaukee credit. He got off to a slow start, but it's a 48-minute game. That's the sign of a special, special player."
Milwaukee still managed to hold the lead well into the final period. Jamaal Magloire's inside jumper with 5:01 gave the Bucks an 81-77 advantage, but it was their last shot from the field until the 16-second mark.
Meanwhile, Carter managed to drain shots from all over the floor. He scored the Nets' last 14 points, including a runner with 60 seconds remaining that gave them their first lead, 84-83, since the opening stages of the game.
"My job is to get the ball in the basket and to get to the rim by any means," Carter said. "I took what they gave me. I don't try to shoot every shot. I'm just trying to play with the offense."
"With a four-point lead, we didn't do a good enough job of stopping Carter down the stretch," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "You want to make him shoot as far out as possible and keep him away from the basket. He got a lot of calls going to the basket."
The dynamic Carter followed with a spin and driving layup on defender Charlie Bell to make the lead three with 27 seconds left. After Joe Smith's layup, Carter split a pair of free throws that made it 87-85 with 15.7 seconds to go.
"He's very athletic," Bell said. "Sometimes you try and not let him get the ball, but they throw it up there and there's nothing you can do. Tonight he had it going. He hit some shots that he probably wouldn't normally make, those type of shots you hit when you're only in a zone."
Maurice Williams attempted an off-balance jumper to level the contest but was not even close. Carter then hit two free throws with 9.8 seconds on the clock to seal the victory.
"I was rolling and I had the ball and they needed me to score, so by all means, score," Carter said. "I was hitting the shots I was taking and I was able to get to the free-throw line."
Michael Redd and Simmons scored 18 points apiece for Milwaukee, which had its six-game home winning streak stopped.
"It was a game we felt we should have won," Smith said. "We had control of it nearly the entire game. In the fourth quarter, we got tight and they put the ball in their best player's hands."