SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Vince Carter is having a good time on the
court again -- and it shows.
He was 5-for-5 from 3-point range and scored on a variety of
drives to the basket as New Jersey never trailed in its season-high
third straight win. It was Carter's second straight 30-point game.
He added 10 assists and was two rebounds short of a triple-double.
And he looked happy doing it, flashing a smile that was hard to
find before he was traded from Toronto to the Nets on Dec. 17.
"I am having fun. This is a new situation for me. It's a new
start and I'm trying to make the most of it," he said.
Carter was aggressive from the opening tip as the Nets got off
to a 9-1 lead and took a 13-point advantage in the first quarter
after his driving lay-up.
"It's not the points that matter, it's just doing something for
my team to get the win. Some nights it's scoring. Some nights it's
rebounding. Some nights it's finding the open man," he said.
Jason Kidd scored 19 points and Nenad Krstic added 13 for the
Nets, who dressed only nine players on the last game of a five-game
road trip. It hardly mattered the way they shot. New Jersey made 9
of 13 from beyond the arc.
"Jason obviously set the tone, imposing his will and
personality on the game, attacking down in the post. And Vince had
another sensational night," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said
after the Nets won for just the second time in the last 11 games at
Raja Bell was the only Jazz player in double figures with 20
"It's not about making shots or missing shots or who's an
All-Star and who's not an All-Star," Bell said. "It's just about
fighting and we don't fight. It's frustrating because we have
enough talent to do it and we just don't use it."
Utah shot 38 percent and looked lethargic after dropping a 93-91
game at Minnesota on Friday. The Jazz have lost four of five games
despite the return of Andrei Kirilenko, who scored seven points.
"Everybody should take a look at ourselves," Kirilenko said.
"We didn't stay like team, like we usually stay. Usually we help
Quick ball movement kept the Jazz defense one step behind and
led to open looks all over the court for New Jersey. When the Jazz
tried a zone defense the results were the same.
"We had a difficult time trying to guard them, zone them; they
made shots and we couldn't react. They did a terrific job of
getting everything they wanted," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
When the Jazz defense collapsed on penetration by Kidd or
Carter, the Nets found an open teammate. Kidd also had 10 assists
and the Nets recorded 28 on their 37 field goals.
"Vince makes the game easy, and I try to make it easy for him.
We just try to play off each other. I don't think people expected
him to be so unselfish," Kidd said.
The Nets pushed a five-point lead to as many as 21 in the second
quarter before settling for a 63-45 halftime lead. New Jersey shot
69 percent as Carter had 20 points and Kidd added 17 in the half.
The Nets completed a successful back-to-back road set after
beating the Lakers 109-103 on Friday and finished their Western
Conference swing with a 3-2 record.
"We talk about priority games and this was the fifth game in
seven nights, last game of a road trip. Huge character-type game,
and I think our character shined quite brightly," Frank said.
New Jersey center Jason Collins was listed as out with a
strained hamstring but started and played 33 minutes and scored 10
points. Jason and his twin brother, Utah center Jarron Collins,
guarded each other on a few plays in the second half. ... New
Jersey claimed Elden Campbell off waivers but he is not yet with
the team. Utah waived Campbell on Wednesday after acquiring him
from Detroit in the Carlos Arroyo trade.