Nets 116 - 115 Jazz
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Carter hits game-winner as Nets edge Jazz

Jan 30, 2007 - 6:43 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) - What began as a frustrating road trip ended on the best possible note for Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets.

Carter hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to finish with 33 points and Jason Kidd added 22 as the Nets rallied for a 116-115 victory over the Utah Jazz.

After losing the first three contests of a five-game road trip, including last-second defeats to the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers, the Nets turned the tables to win their second game in a row and sixth in their last seven meetings with Utah.

"The basketball gods had to shine on us at some point in time," Carter said. "It's a great feeling for me to be able to deliver for (the team) in the end."

Coming off a 40-point outing in Saturday's victory over the Denver Nuggets, Carter made 10-of-15 shots in the game and scored 29 points in the second half.

With Utah clinging to a two-point lead and five seconds left, Carter took an inbounds pass, raced to the frontcourt and swished a 28-footer as time expired. Carter was able to get open for the last-ditch effort because of Mikki Moore's screen on Utah defender Matt Harpring.

"I didn't realize how far (the shot was)," Carter said. "It was just mostly getting my feet set and follow through and hope for the best. I was just trying to give myself an alley way just to get good vision and get a sight line of the rim and just try to get my feet set. Mikki Moore set a great screen and got me free."

Despite Carter's hot hand, Harpring gave the star guard - who hit 9-of-13 second-half shots - plenty of room for a good look at the basket.

"I had a foul to give," Harpring said. "I guess I should have fouled him with the five seconds ... instead of bringing the ball all the way down the court. It's a tough game. We should have won that game. There's no question."

Carter scored nine consecutive points for the Nets, including a 3-pointer, a dunk and a three-point play, to tie the score, 108-108, with 3:24 remaining. After Mehmet Okur hit a jumper to give Utah the lead with 2:30 left, Carter sank two free throws 17 seconds later before Andrei Kirilenko hit a finger-roll and Deron Williams drilled an 16-foot jumper for a 114-110 advantage with 1:22 to play.

"As well as we played as a unit, this one would have been tough for us to lose," Carter said.

Moore made 1-of-2 foul shots with 1:13 left and Carter hit an uncontested dunk with 6.9 seconds to go to bring the Nets within 114-113.

Williams, who led the Jazz with 25 points, hit just 1-of-2 free throws with five seconds to play before Carter's heroics sealed the victory, which brought the Nets within one game of the .500 mark.

"We still haven't quite figured out how to get that timely stop in those big defensive possessions when we need to down the stretch," Jazz guard Derek Fisher said. "We played hard and we did some good things and we had some great effort. But when it comes down to March and April ... we need to be able to shut teams down."

It was the fourth time this season that the Jazz lost on a buzzer-beater. The most recent was Wednesday when Eddie Jones buried a 22-footer as time expired to lift the the Memphis Grizzlies to 132-130 victory here.

The Jazz were without leading scorer and rebounder Carlos Boozer, who was sidelined with a bruised left knee. Still, they built an 11-point lead in the second quarter and outrebounded New Jersey, 44-21, for the contest.

"That was a great team effort," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We were fighting uphill all night. We had a heck of a time trying to keep those guys off the boards."

In the second half, there were 12 ties and seven lead changes. Neither team led by more than five points.

After picking up two fouls in the first minute of play, Carter more than made up for his early absence in the final period.

"We knew he was going to come out and be more aggressive after getting into foul trouble early in the first half," Fisher said. "There's no question about that."

Eddie House scored 19 points and Marcus Williams and Antoine Wright added 12 each for the Nets, who shot nearly 54 percent (38-of-71). Paul Millsap took most of Boozer's minutes and scored 16 points with 12 rebounds before fouling out.

Okur added 18 points on just 5-of-16 shooting for the Jazz, who lost for the sixth time in 22 home games. In addition to Boozer's absence, the Jazz were also without coach Jerry Sloan, who sat out with a stomach flu. Assistant Phil Johnson ran the squad.

"The second half was very difficult with Vince Carter," Johnson said. "He put on a sensational show. He's a great offensive player and made the last shot."

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