Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/6

Game 1: Monday, February 6th
Game 2: Sunday, March 12th

Nets 95

(33-28, 14-19 away)

Hornets 84

(31-31, 19-13 home)

    Coverage: COX

    6:00 PM ET, March 12, 2006

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 24 22 24 2595
    NO 17 21 19 2784

    Top Performers

    NJ: V. Carter 27 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    NO: C. Paul 17 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 4 Stl

    Carter scores 27; Nets hold off Hornets' late rally

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The New Jersey Nets were reminded of how much easier things are when they play from ahead.

    Vince Carter scored 27 points as New Jersey held off a furious fourth-quarter rally and beat New Orleans 95-84 Sunday night, the Hornets' season-worst sixth straight loss.

    The Nets won for only the second time in their last seven games and gave third-year coach Lawrence Frank his 100th win with the team. The man Frank replaced, Hornets coach Byron Scott, now is 0-4 against his former team.

    "I think (our execution) has been under scrutiny of late and it starts as a team," New Jersey guard Jason Kidd said. "We all support one another and I thought tonight was a great example of those guys coming off the bench and giving us a big lift."

    The Atlantic Division-leading Nets shot 52 percent from the field and held the Hornets to 41 percent. The Hornets had won nine of their last 10 games before the All-Star break.

    The Hornets fell a half-game behind Sacramento for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference after the Kings beat Dallas 85-80 Sunday night.

    "We are digging ourselves a big hole in these games," Hornets rookie guard Chris Paul said. "Maybe what we need is to have a reality check, and fall out of the playoffs, and (realize) that the playoffs can be taken away from us."

    New Jersey led 70-51 late in the third quarter, but New Orleans pulled within 82-78 with 2:42 left on a driving layup by Paul, who led the Hornets with 17 points and seven assists. The Hornets had a chance to pull even closer, but Rasual Butler missed a long jumper with 1:55 left.

    Kidd's 3-pointer with 1:40 left gave the Nets a seven-point cushion, and New Jersey went 8-of-8 from the free throw line in the final 48 seconds to seal the win. Carter, who made four of those free throws, finished 10-of-10 from the line. New Jersey made 26 of 28 free throws.

    "We had that energy," Carter said. "We had a lead and our bench kept the lead. We didn't have to play catch-up, which is real tough to do. We had a comfortable lead and we were able to play basketball and not overdo it (or) rush."

    Kidd just missed what would have been his sixth triple-double this season, finishing with 15 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. The double-double was his 23rd of the season.

    Richard Jefferson added 19 points for New Jersey.

    The Nets never trailed, scoring the first eight points and making nine of their first 14 field-goal attempts. The Hornets missed their first six shots and didn't make their first basket until 5½ minutes into the game.

    "It hasn't been since the (All-Star) break where we were able to come out and do what we did to make it 8-0, and it started on the defensive end," Frank said. "We played really good defense in the first half, forcing them to shoot some shots with just three or four seconds left on the shot clock."

    New Jersey twice pushed its first-half lead to 14 points, the latter time after Carter scored seven straight points, capped by a 3-pointer with 2:38 left in the half. The Hornets closed the half on an 8-2 run to cut New Jersey's lead to 46-38.

    A three-point play by Paul brought New Orleans within 51-45 in the third quarter, but the Nets scored the next nine points, rebuilding their lead to 15. New Jersey's lead peaked at 19 points.

    "We are playing soft right now," Scott said. "Every team we are going against is thinking we are soft and the only way to change that is to not be soft.

    "Obviously we are going to have to try some different things, because right now we're not getting the job done."

    Game notes

    The game drew 19,198 fans to the Ford Center, the Hornets' 17th sellout this season. ... New Jersey is 27-0 this season when leading after three quarters. ... The Hornets took 21 more shots than the Nets but made just two more.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 84
    FGM-FGA 31-60 (.517) 33-81 (.407)
    3PM-3PA 7-16 (.438) 4-13 (.308)
    FTM-FTA 26-28 (.929) 14-19 (.737)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 3-40 8-33
    Assists 21 14
    Turnovers 22 10
    Steals 3 14
    Blocks 1 2
    Fast Break Points 20 25
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 26 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 19 0

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    No/oklahoma City
    Vince Carter Carter
    Points: 27
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 17
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0