Carter, Kidd carry Nets to fourth straight winJan 5, 2008 - 5:02 AM By Carl Dispoto PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) - The New Jersey Nets are making a habit of erasing double-digit deficits.
Vince Carter scored 30 points, Richard Jefferson had 28 and Jason Kidd collected another triple-double as the Nets pushed their winning streak to a season-high four games with Friday's 102-96 victory over the struggling Charlotte Bobcats.
New Jersey rallied from a 15-point hole at Orlando on Wednesday and started slowly again in this one, falling behind by as many as 13 after playing virtually no defense in the opening quarter.
But the Nets stormed back behind the efforts of their star trio while also receiving crucial contributions from their reserves down the stretch.
"We don't want to make a habit of it because during our stretch where we weren't playing as well, we fell behind and didn't come back," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "It is a game of runs, but we don't want to constantly dig ourselves out of a hole. But it speaks that we've matured a lot as a team, and we don't let a deficit affect us."
"It just shows our level of focus has increased day by day," Carter said. "We have fought hard, so hopefully we can just keep getting better."
Kidd registered his eighth triple-double of the season and 95th of his career with 11 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in helping the Nets climbed back to .500 for the first time since they were 3-3 on November 12.
"It's not about winning streaks, it's more about habits and trying to make progress on a daily basis because it's a long season," Frank said. "We're playing better basketball, we just have to continue to improve."
"Our mentality had stayed the same, we're just putting the ball in the basket," Kidd said. "We're getting out and running and playing to our strengths."
Charlotte led by as many 13 early in the second quarter after making 14-of-25 shots in the first led by Jason Richardson, who went 7-of-10.
Carter scored 15 points in the first quarter to keep it close for the Nets, who played stifling defense in the final three quarters, holding the Bobcats to 42 percent (23-of-54) shooting during that span.
"Our intensity level just stepped up another notch," Carter said. "Our defensive intensity really set the tone."
The Bobcats made just 5-of-16 shots in the second quarter, 7-of-19 in the third and were held without a basket for the first three minutes of the fourth as the Nets pulled away.
"We got off to a great start, guys were hitting shots, and the wheels fell off and we sputtered out," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "We just didn't make as many shots. We just have to have stretches where we make the right decisions."
New Jersey took its first lead on a layup by Carter with 20 seconds left in the third and scored 11 of the first 14 points in the fourth, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from reserve Darrell Armstrong, who played crucial minutes in the final period for the second straight game.
Bostjan Nachbar opened the final quarter with a free throw and a layup before Armstrong found Carter for a driving layup. Armstrong buried a 3-pointer with 9:52 left and, after a layup by Wallace, sank another at 8:12 to give the Nets an 80-70 cushion.
Richardson scored 16 of his 33 points in the first and Gerald Wallace had 25 and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who committed 21 turnovers in their 11th consecutive road game.
"They forced a lot of turnovers, which got them out running," Wallace said. "This game was about mental mistakes for us."
Charlotte has lost six of their last seven games overall.
NEW JERSEY 102 FINAL
Jan 4 9:58 PM
NEW JERSEY 69 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 4 9:27 PM
NEW JERSEY 42 HALFTIME
Jan 4 8:40 PM
NEW JERSEY 21 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 4 8:08 PM
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