Nets
Heat
107 - 103 Final - OT
  for this game

Carter, struggling Nets top sliding Heat

Dec 21, 2007 - 5:16 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- Albeit against a similarly struggling squad, Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets finally showed some life on Thursday night.

Carter had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists and nailed a huge 3-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation as the Nets secured just their second win in eight games with a 107-103 overtime victory over the Miami Heat.

Richard Jefferson added 29 points for New Jersey, which outscored Miami, 41-33, in the fourth quarter and overtime en route to the victory.

Expected to be a contender in the weak Eastern Conference, the Nets have struggled in the season's first two months, hearing boos at home and losing on the road to the lowly New York Knicks before a much-needed win on Thursday.

"It's just guys, regardless of the level of frustration, knowing that we are a better team than our record is showing," Carter said. "We have to keep playing and, with wins, come confidence."

But it did not come easy for the Nets, who needed a decisive 8-2 run to start overtime to take control. They sparked the run with stellar defense.

"When you're down, especially on the road, you have to get stops, and we were able to get enough stops," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We were in spots a couple nights ago where we were down and we never put together enough stops, so it's good tonight that we were able to find a way. It was a gutty win."

Josh Boone slammed home two dunks, including one off a perfect lob from Jason Kidd, during the spurt.

"Sometimes they were slow to rotate, especially the one where Kidd threw the lob, they were a little bit slow to rotate, and all I had to do was catch the ball and finish it," Boone said.

Kidd, who assisted on three of the four baskets during the burst, had five points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for New Jersey, which nearly wasted a dramatic shot in regulation by the struggling Carter.

"Out of the huddle, I told Jefferson that if he needed help, just to throw it, I was kind of locked in," Carter said. "I said, 'I'll be open and I'll make the shot.'"

It was the latest setback in a disappointing season for the Heat (7-19), who are floundering in the Southeast Division basement - less than two years removed from an NBA championship.

"It's not from a lack of wanting the win," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We do get some bad bounces, but the bad bounce you have to pursue. It's just a tough, tough, tough loss."

Miami superstar Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 41 points for the Heat on 15-of-23 shooting from the floor and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line.

"(Wade) is completely and probably beyond frustrated because of what he is trying to accomplish," Riley said.

The Heat lost veteran center Alonzo Mourning to a possible career-threatening injury on Wednesday night.

He had successful surgery on Thursday to repair a torn patella and quadriceps tendons in his right knee after collapsing to the court while trying to defend a fast-break layup in Wednesday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

"I lost a brother, I lost a partner, I've lost a bodyguard," Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said. "I'm going to miss him. He's been my best friend. I don't wish it would have happened to someone else, but I wish it wouldn't have happened to him."

After trailing for much of the contest, including a back-and-forth final period, Carter nailed a contested 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to give the Nets a 94-92 lead.

It was a perfectly executed possession by New Jersey, which saw its three stars touch the ball before the ball went through the net. Kidd lobbed into the post to Jefferson, who passed out of a double-team for Carter's 3-pointer.

"I just tried to shoot it anyway I could and still focus on the shot," said Carter, who was pressured heavily by Ricky Davis.

But on the ensuing possession, Miami tied the game on Udonis Haslem's jumper from the top of the circle as time expired in regulation.

It was a surprise that the final shot was taken by someone other than Wade, who drove to the basket and found Haslem when the defense collapsed on him in the lane.

However, Haslem bobbled the ball, and Wade attempted to call timeout - but was ignored by the referees - as the tying jumper went through.

O'Neal collected just 12 points and seven rebounds before fouling out for Miami, which led for most of the game until Malik Allen nailed a jumper with 2:19 left in regulation for its first lead of the final period.

"In my five years in the league, I have seen bad teams, and this is not a bad team," Haslem said. "There is still hope, and we just have to continue to go out and play."








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