Hornets overcome Carter's 46 points, nip Nets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Vince Carter gave a glimpse of what New Jersey will miss if it trades him, while Jason Kidd seemed to make his own case for a change of scenery.

Carter scored a season-high 46 points but Kidd shot 2-for-14 in what might have been his final game with the Nets in a 111-107 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

David West scored a season-high 32 points and Chris Paul added 19 points and 11 assists for New Orleans, which like New Jersey entered the evening in ninth place in its conference playoff race.

That took a backseat to the trade rumors that have surrounded Kidd and Carter as Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline approaches. Kidd has reportedly been shopped to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Both players said the rumors did not affect their play, though Kidd seemed resigned to the possibility of leaving the team he took to its two only NBA Finals appearances when he spoke before the game.

"You'd like to stay in one place," he said. "I've really enjoyed New Jersey, but things happen fast in this league and you have to be prepared. Especially after you've been traded the first time, you realize it can happen at any time."

Kidd got a warm reception from the crowd at Continental Airlines Arena when he was introduced, and one fan held up a sign that read: "L.A. Is No Place For A Kidd."

Kidd was making his first start after missing two games with a back injury that also forced him out of last weekend's NBA All-Star Game. He missed nine of his first 10 shots and failed to connect on two 3-pointers in the final minute when the Nets trailed 105-101.

"I'll take those shots any day of the week," Kidd said. "A lot of them went in and out. When you're a shooter, you have to live with those shots."

Carter, who shot 15-for-25, scored 17 points in the third quarter when New Jersey turned a six-point deficit into a six-point lead. But New Orleans saved its run for the fourth quarter, the juncture of the game that has proved New Jersey's undoing this season: Nets coach Lawrence Frank pointed to the fact that in games decided by five points or fewer, the Nets have averaged 28 points in the fourth quarter but allowed 30.

On Wednesday, the Nets allowed 35 to New Orleans, nearly half of which came in a 17-5 spurt midway through the quarter that erased a 91-84 deficit and gave the Hornets a 101-96 lead with a little over three minutes left.

West and Paul combined for 12 points in the run. It was a reversal from Tuesday night, when the Hornets gave up a late 7-0 run to Charlotte and lost 104-100 in a game in which West scored 16 points.

"I wanted to attack the basket and do what I can to put us in position to win," West said. "I was disappointed with the way we played last night. I've got to be able to put the ball on the floor and make baskets. Even though Vince got off tonight, we wanted to respond on the other end and make them guard us."

In addition to West and Paul, Tyson Chandler and Desmond Mason (10 points apiece) and reserve Bobby Jackson (17 points) reached double figures for New Orleans, while only Mikki Moore (10) and reserve Bostjan Nachbar (15) were in double figures for New Jersey.

"I know they've been having difficulty scoring, so it's a lot of pressure on Vince to score big numbers," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Tonight he was fantastic, but we spread it around pretty well, so we got the victory."

Game notes
New Orleans had lost its previous six games against New Jersey dating to Feb. 2, 2004 ... Entering Wednesday's game, Kidd ranked in the Nets' all-time top 10 in 11 categories, including first in assists (3,354) and second in 3-pointers made (305) and attempted (1,780) ... In two previous games against Kidd, Paul averaged 11.5 points, five rebounds and 10 assists while Kidd averaged a triple-double with 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10 assists.