Carter's 29 points lead Nets past HawksJan 6, 2008 - 4:21 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets finally are back over the .500 mark.
Jason Kidd recorded his 96th triple double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists and Vince Carter tallied 29 points to lead the Nets to a 113-107 win over the struggling Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
Richard Jefferson scored 21 points and Josh Boone collected 17 and 12 rebounds for New Jersey (17-16), which won its fifth straight to move one game above the break-even mark for the first time since November 12.
"I couldn't tell you (our record)," Carter said. "It won't matter if we continue to play good basketball and continue to pile up wins."
Trailing by three to start the pivotal fourth quarter, Carter and sharp-shooting reserve Bostjan Nachbar keyed a 14-0 run to start the period, tallying five points each to put the game away. Carter capped the run with a thunderous follow dunk to give the Nets a 91-79 lead with 8:03 remaining.
"They had the confidence to put the ball in my hands late," Carter said. "I might as well have the confidence to shoot it."
Along the way, Kidd once again made a little bit of history. The eight-time All-Star drained two free throws with 8:34 remaining to grab his fifth career triple-double on back-to-back nights, and ninth overall in 2007-08.
"(Getting a triple double in) back-to-back nights, those are pretty special," Kidd said. "The hardest thing for me is to put up 10 points."
However, Atlanta did not quit down the stretch.
Hawks forward Josh Smith keyed an 8-0 run with four points, along with Anthony Johnson's fast-break layup to cut their deficit to 105-103 with 1:06 remaining.
But Carter followed with a bucket, and Boone grabbed a crucial defensive rebound and later dunked the ball as the 24-second clock expired to put the game away, handing the Hawks (15-16) their fourth straight loss.
"I had five people ask me (if I got the shot off in time) so far," Boone said with a smile. "Regardless of whether I did or not, I got it. I knew it was going to be close, as I got the ball, there was one second left. I was trying to put it up as quickly as possible."
Smith scored 34 points and Marvin Williams added 18 for Atlanta, but the club once again could not overcome a sub-par performance from its All-Star Joe Johnson.
"When it was time for them to make stops, they made them," Smith said. "And they capitalized on all of them - crucial and-one plays, and 3-pointers that they were able to shoot and spread the floor. That kind of let the air out of us a little bit, after we tried to come back so hard."
One night after posting just eight points in a loss to the Indiana Pacers, the 26-year-old Johnson was equally as futile in this one.
The 2007 All-Star scored just nine points on 4-of-16 shooting before fouling out with just over four minutes left. It was the first time that Johnson has been held under 10 points in consecutive games since a three-game stretch of futility from December 18-23, 2004 in the shooting guard's final season with the Suns.
"We just have to find a way to win somehow," Johnson said. "We'll make it as a team. I think we all have to come together, and just find a way."
Part of the reason for Johnson's tough shooting night was the play of Kidd, who wreaked havoc on the Hawks standout all night.
"We were trying to make it tough on Joe in the third," Kidd said. "We tried to make it tough and hope he missed."
With the leftover confetti dropping periodically to the court - the remnants from rock band Widespread Panic's performance on New Year's Eve - the Hawks partied like it was 1999 in the second quarter, the last season the beleaguered club made the postseason.
Atlanta seemingly took control with a 14-3 spurt, bridging the first two quarters. Smith came up particularly big in the spurt, scoring six of his 13 second-quarter points, including a fast-break layup with 9:38 remaining to give Atlanta a 39-25 cushion.
The Hawks would take a seven-point lead into the intermission. But the lead was short-lived, as Atlanta fell silent to start the second half.
New Jersey scored 17 of the first 21 points after the break to take a 67-61 lead on Carter's three-point play with 6:52 remaining in the period.
"We knew we could play a whole lot better in the second half," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We were able to play out a couple of different situations. Sean Williams and Boone gave us a big lift and Kidd's defense on Johnson was huge."
However, the Hawks woke up from their third-quarter hangover, closing out the frame with a 13-3 run to take a 79-76 lead prior to their fourth-quarter collapse.
NEW JERSEY 113
ATLANTA 107 FINAL
Jan 5 9:45 PM
NEW JERSEY 76
ATLANTA 79 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 5 9:01 PM
NEW JERSEY 50
ATLANTA 57 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Jan 5 8:14 PM
NEW JERSEY 22
ATLANTA 27 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 5 7:35 PM
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