for this game

Carter, Harris propel Nets as they rally past Raptors

Dec 16, 2008 - 5:12 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Vince Carter has been right at home in Toronto this season.

For the second time in less than a month, Carter tortured his former team in front of his former fans, posting 20 points, 10 boards and five assists as the New Jersey Nets used a furious fourth-quarter run to stun the Raptors, 94-87, on Monday.

"Coming into tonight, we didn't want to compound three losses in a row," Carter said. "We have come so far. We were down double digits earlier but we were able to buckle down and give ourselves a chance to win."

In a November 21 meeting in Toronto, Carter buried an improbable 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime, then converted the game-winning dunk in the extra session in a 129-127 triumph for New Jersey.

This time around, the veteran guard had his share of big moments but deferred to his backcourt partner down the stretch as the Nets took over in the final frame. Devin Harris scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth, including all but five in a 16-0 run that turned a nine-point deficit into a seven-point advantage with less than five minutes to play.

"He likes fourth quarters," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He rose up with his ability to stay in the game. He was the maestro of getting into the paint."

The Raptors' misery continued until the 2:34 mark, when they finally hit their first field goal of the entire quarter. Jose Calderon's 3-pointer - which came after 14 misses in a row - sparked a 12-3 run that pulled the Raptors to within five at 91-86.

"You try to keep shooting and they just wouldn't fall for us," Raptors center Jermaine O'Neal said. "They started to make their run but we couldn't respond."

The late surge wasn't nearly enough as the Nets closed out the win at the foul line to snap a three-game losing streak.

"Our guys did a great job defensively," Frank said. "Usually, that's what it takes to win on the road. To hold them to 17 points in that fourth quarter was tremendous."

Monday's showdown between the two Atlantic Division rivals was the very definition of a back-and-forth ballgame. The Raptors jumped out to an eight-point lead after one as they caught fire from the perimeter. But by the end of the first half, the Nets had pulled even at 46-46.

"You have to keep playing," Carter said. "There's no 14-point play or anything like that, it's just trusting each other. If we don't do something about it now, we could be losing by 40 points and getting blown out."

The Raptors came back after the break and began to take control. All-Star forward Chris Bosh sparked a 13-0 run with a short jumper in the lane and Jason Kapono buried a 3-pointer to pull the Raptors ahead, 62-60. Carter finally ended the run, knocking down a 3-pointer of his own to quell the momentum.

Carter was responsible for the Nets' only five points over the last five minutes of the third quarter.

Rookie forward Ryan Anderson came off the bench to score a career-high 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting for the Nets. He was the unlikely hero as New Jersey held Toronto at bay in the game's waning minutes.

"We were desperate for this win, (we) needed to get our streak back," Anderson said.

The 21st overall pick out of California connected from long range and added a layup to extend the Nets' lead to 86-74. He added three free throws over the next minute to help put the game effectively out of reach.

"I thought we had some great defensive opportunities," Harris said. "We took them out of some of the things they were doing."

For Carter, Monday's game wasn't just another dramatic triumph in front of his one-time fans - it was redemption for one of the worst performances of his career just a few days ago.

In a meeting with the Raptors in New Jersey on Friday, he was a putrid 0-of-13 from the field, finishing with a season-low three points. Not surprisingly, the Nets were dealt a 101-79 loss.

While Carter struggled from the floor at times - hitting 8-of-24 - his all-around contributions were more than enough to propel the Nets to a crucial divisional win.

Harris added seven rebounds and five assists for New Jersey, while rookie center Brook Lopez collected 10 points and seven boards before fouling out.

Bosh was limited to just 17 points on 4-of-14 shooting. Kapono added 17 and buried five 3-pointers.

"There will be nights like that," Bosh said. "But we still have to have the defensive mindset to get rebounds and try to run and get some easy buckets."

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