for this game

Carter, Kidd help Nets blitz Raptors

Apr 30, 2007 - 3:54 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Vince Carter and Jason Kidd needed just one half to put the Toronto Raptors on the brink of elimination.

Carter scored 27 points and Kidd finished two rebounds shy of his second straight triple-double as the New Jersey Nets rolled to a 102-81 victory over the Raptors for a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round matchup.

The All-Star duo was the story of the opening quarter as the backcourt combined for 21 points, nine assists and nine boards in helping New Jersey open a commanding 32-15 advantage.

Carter's 15 points equaled Toronto's first-quarter output as the Nets shot an impressive 60 percent (12-of-20) from the field and made 5-of-8 3-pointers.

"When you jump on a team, your goal is to continue to attack and take them out of it," Carter said. "As a unit, we're trying to make plays for ourselves and each other. One thing that helped our percentage was we're moving the ball and finding the open men."

A former Raptor, Carter shot 9-of-15, including 5-of-8 from the arc, pulled down seven rebounds and handed out seven assists.

"(Carter's) making some unbelievable shots," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "When he gets it going, you can't name five guys in this league better than him when he gets the ball."

In the second quarter, Bostjan Nachbar nailed two 3-pointers as the Nets pushed their lead to 21 points at the 7:18 mark. The Raptors made a surge, cutting the deficit to 47-36 with 3:47 left.

But Kidd responded with back-to-back shots from the arc to spark an aggressive 16-1 burst to bridge the third quarter as the Nets opened a 63-37 bulge with 10:37 remaining.

"I'm learning to become a shooter," Kidd said. "I had a lot of great looks in Game Three. "I got going early. Anytime I make that first one, it gives me confidence to keep shooting. My teammates encourage me to take those shots."

Kidd collected 17 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. In Game Three, the 6-4 guard became the third player in history to post a triple-double in a playoff game, despite battling a sore and swollen knee.

Mitchell had made comments strongly suggesting Kidd is feigning the injury, perhaps to inspire the Raptors.

"The comments really didn't bother me, because we're not sitting here making up anything," Kidd said. "We're doing treatments, we're doing everything we can to prepare for the game. You can ask Timmy (trainer Tim Walsh), you can ask our doctor. The knee has swelled up, and we're doing everything we can to get me on the court."

Richard Jefferson made the third period his personal playground, netting 16 of his 23 points for New Jersey, which extended its lead to 86-56 at the start of the fourth period.

The series shifts back to Toronto for Game Five on Tuesday.

"Going back home is a quick way to get your confidence back," Mitchell said. "We're been down this road before. It's easy on a night when you shoot 60 percent and things go your way. We got it handed to us."

Raptors All-Star Chris Bosh's struggles in New Jersey continued, as he finished with 13 points and 10 boards. He scored just 11 points in Game Three.

T.J. Ford also scored 13 for Toronto, which shot 41 percent (28-of-67) and committed 22 turnovers en route to their fourth loss in as many games at the Continental Airlines Arena.

"Sometimes you may not like it but you have to learn from experiences like this," Bosh said. "We have to keep going and play as hard as we possibly can."

Toronto's No. 1 overall selection last June, Andrea Bargnani, earned his first postseason start in place of Joey Graham, who was averaging just 2.0 points through the first three games.

Bargnani was playing in his fifth game since missing 14 contests because of an appendectomy. On Sunday, the 7-foot forward scored a team-high 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

"We're gonna try something else Tuesday," Mitchell said. "Hopefully it will give us some opportunities to score the basketball. If it's not working, you have to change it up. Right now, we have some ideas. We'll sleep on it. I'm disappointed the way we played the last two games."

    TORONTO 81

    Apr 29 10:02 PM

    TORONTO 56

    Apr 29 9:28 PM

    TORONTO 37

    Apr 29 8:39 PM

    TORONTO 15

    Apr 29 8:03 PM