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Carter, Nets end road skid

Jan 28, 2007 - 5:58 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Vince Carter ensured the New Jersey Nets will take something positive out of their five-game road swing.

Carter scored 20 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets held on for a 112-102 triumph over the Denver Nuggets.

Reserve Bostjan Nachbar added a career-high 22 points and Jason Kidd added 18 and 12 rebounds for New Jersey, which lost the first three games of its road trip in demoralizing fashion.

The Nets fell at Sacramento, Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers by one point each, all on last-second shots. The Nets squandered a 20-point lead to the Kings and a 12-point fourth-quarter advantage against the Warriors.

"This road trip has been kind of tough on us since we've lost three games on last-second shots," Kidd said. "We just came out again to try and have a chance to win a game at the end. We made our free throws, played good defense and ended up with a win against a very good team in Denver. Vince was incredible in that second half and we didn't let a performance like that go to waste."

In Thursday's 110-109 loss to the Clippers, Carter blew a defensive assignment, leaving open marksman Cuttino Mobley, who nailed the game-winning shot from the arc. But he made up for it against the Nuggets, making 14-of-23 shots and 12-of-14 free throws.

"It's a great feeling to get rolling and do whatever you need to do for your team," Carter said. "For us it was imperative for us to get a win by any means. I felt like I let the team down last game on that last play, so I just wanted to come out and give a maximum effort from beginning to end."

New Jersey trailed, 31-20, after the first quarter but pulled within 53-52 entering the break. The Nets opened an 80-76 advantage entering the fourth quarter and led throughout the final period but did not seem assured of a win until Nachbar nailed a 3-pointer for a 103-95 cushion with 4:10 remaining.

Carter scored six points down the stretch to finish the job.

"In the fourth quarter, Vince was phenomenal," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He had a great attack."

"He just dominated us," Nuggets guard Allen Iverson said. "He kept the pressure on, got fouled and went to the line, made them when he had to. He just played well." New Jersey, which snapped an 11-game West Coast losing streak, ends its trip at Utah before returning home vs. Detroit on Wednesday.

"We've played good basketball," Frank said. "Unfortunately this is the first win on the trip. Give our guys a ton of credit. It shows the mental toughness and character of the group."

Reserve J.R. Smith scored 28 points to pace the Nuggets, who lost their second straight game.

"For me, my team seems to be distracted at home but not so much on the road," Denver coach George Karl said. "It seems with family commitments and such, they are much more distracted at home."

Carmelo Anthony added 23 points but Iverson mustered just 18 on 6-of-19 shooting.

"Scoring is not a problem," Anthony said. "Anybody on our team can score. We just gotta buckle down defensively. If we want to be the team we say we want to be, that's where we are going to win games at."

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