Vince Carter just endured possibly the worst night of his NBA career. Fortunately, he won't need to wait long for a chance to put it behind him.
Carter tries to bounce back from a dreadful performance as the New Jersey Nets look to avoid a third straight loss Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
The Nets (11-10) lost a pair of games at home this week, following a 121-109 loss to New York on Wednesday with an ugly 101-79 defeat Friday night to Toronto. The defeat to the Raptors was the worst offensive performance of 2008-09 for New Jersey, which set season lows in points and field-goal percentage (31.3), and turned the ball over 19 times to tie its season high for the second straight game.
While it was the worst shooting night of the season for the Nets, it was also the worst shooting night of Carter's 11-year career. The electrifying shooting guard, who has averaged more than 20 points in every season since his 1998-99 rookie year with Toronto, went 0-for-13 from the field against his former club in the first game of his career in which he failed to make a shot from the field when playing at least 10 minutes.
Apparently humiliated, Carter skipped his usual postgame press conference.
"He had a tough night," said backcourt partner Devin Harris, who had 14 points to share the team scoring lead with Yi Jianlian. "I know he probably takes this a little bit harder against his former team. We're all going to have those nights. I know he'll bounce back. I'm not too worried about him."
Getting away from the home crowd may not be a bad thing for Carter or the Nets. While Friday's loss dropped New Jersey to 4-7 at home, the Nets are 7-3 on the road. They are the only NBA team with a winning record overall that is below .500 at home.
However, home court has been vital in recent years when these teams have met. The home team won all three meetings in last season's series -- two in New Jersey, one in Chicago -- and is 11-1 in the last 12 matchups since Feb. 1, 2005.
Carter's teams have gone 7-7 when he's played at the United Center as he's averaged 22.5 points.
The Bulls (10-12) have failed to win or lose three straight games all season. That pattern continued on Friday at Memphis, where Chicago lost 103-96 to squander a shot at a three-game winning streak.
Top overall draft pick Derrick Rose had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in his return to the city where he played his one year of college ball. Ben Gordon scored 18 of his team-high 26 points in the first quarter as the Bulls built a 14-point lead, but picked up his third foul early in the second and Chicago's advantage dwindled to two by halftime with him on the bench.
"I just locked in and focused," Gordon said of his first quarter. "After the first few, I felt like I was in a good rhythm. Unfortunately, I got into a little bit of foul trouble."
The Bulls are seeking their third straight home win and their fifth victory in the last six games there.