Kidd had his 64th career triple-double and Carter scored 21
points to lead the Nets past the Sacramento Kings 96-85 on
"We have to build on this and come back with a strong start
after the break," said Carter. "It always helps winning a big one
like this going into the break. When we come back, we have to take
care of what we have to do."
The mission for the Nets in the second half is a run at the
up-for-grab Atlantic Division title.
`We know our backs are against the wall and every game counts
for us," said Kidd. "We have to minimize our losses and can't
afford a losing streak. We've been playing well over the last
month. This gives us a big win to end the first half and gives us
something to build on."
Carter reached 20 points for the 11th straight game and the 17th
time in the last 18. Kidd finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and
10 assists for his third triple-double in the last six games.
Rookie Nenad Krstic scored a career-best 18 points and Jason
Collins had eight points and 13 rebounds for the Nets.
Mike Bibby had 25 points to lead the Kings, who lost for the
sixth time in the last seven games. Cuttino Mobley had 16 points,
while Chris Webber had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Sacramento.
Maurice Evans had 10 points for the Kings before fouling out.
In contrast to the Nets, the Kings limp into the break.
"The only thing saving my feelings right now is that it's the
All-Star break," said Webber. "We have a lot of guys hurting.
That's not an excuse. Everybody needs to rest, mentally and
physically, over the break."
The game seesawed through the third quarter with seven lead
changes. It remained close until the Nets took charge midway
through the fourth.
With the game tied at 78, the Nets went on a 14-2 run. Carter
started the spurt with a leaning jumper over two defenders and Kidd
followed with a 3-pointer. Carter added four more points in the
stretch and Travis Best chipped in five points.
The Kings had no answers down the stretch.
"They had three or four different people making 3s and they
broke the game open," said Kings coach Rick Adelman. "We couldn't
get our shots to go down. I thought we were very sluggish."
Clifford Robinson, who just joined the Nets, had little
time to adapt. "He had about an hour to digest what we do," said
Nets coach Lawrence Frank. "Cliff obviously is going to be a big
part of the plan. We'll wait and see just how much he can
contribute." Robinson made his Nets debut with 11:08 remaining in
the second period. He scored nine points. ...The Kings blew out the
Nets 113-93 in the earlier meeting on Jan. 25 in Sacramento. ... F
Peja Stojakovic and G Kevin Martin both missed the game with what
the Kings described as "flulike symptoms." Stojakovic, who also
missed the Kings' loss in Chicago on Tuesday, was not with the
team. ...The Nets are 8-16 against Western Conference teams.