Carter, Yi lead undermanned Nets past KingsJan 6, 2009 - 5:49 AM By Carl Dispoto PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- After enduring a disastrous second quarter and facing a second half without their leading scorer, the New Jersey Nets fought their way to their first home winning streak in nearly nine months.
Vince Carter had 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Yi Jianlian added 22 points and a season-high 13 rebounds as the Nets overcame the loss of Devin Harris and rallied for a 98-90 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday.
Harris - New Jersey's leader in points and assists - was a game-time decision due to a strained right hamstring. He started the game but lacked his usual explosiveness and was unable to return after halftime with the Nets facing a double-digit deficit.
"Devin didn't seem like himself ... so it was important for us to step it up a notch," Carter said. "It was important for everybody just to do a little more."
But New Jersey stormed back behind an unusually aggressive Yi, who scored 15 points in the second half, before Carter sparked the decisive sequence in the final minutes.
Carter assisted on a 3-pointer by Jarvis Hayes that gave New Jersey the lead for good at 84-82 with 4:53 left. Less than a minute later, Carter drove from the top of the circle for a one-handed dunk as he was fouled by Kings forward Kenny Thomas.
Carter missed the ensuing free throw, but Josh Boone secured the rebound for the Nets. Boone fed a wide-open Carter, who drained a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to give the Nets an 89-82 cushion with 3:57 left.
The Kings retaliated by intentionally fouling Nets center Josh Boone - a 47 percent career free-throw shooter - on three straight possessions in a span of 53 seconds. Boone split his first four attempts before missing both shots from the line with 2:22 left.
But Yi beat Sacramento's Brad Miller to the rebound and was fouled, sinking both his free throws for a 94-86 lead.
"Yi was tremendous," Carter said. "Not only putting the ball in the basket but giving us extra possessions with his aggressiveness. It was great to see. He showed his complete game tonight."
For the first time this season, Yi also showed a low-post game. He has mainly been a jump shooter but, against the Kings, he took the ball to the basket frequently.
Keyon Dooling provided the dagger with a 3-pointer from the left corner that gave New Jersey an 11-point bulge with just 99 seconds to go.
Hayes finished with 12 points for the Nets, who have won consecutive home games for the first time since April 5-15. They are just 7-12 at the IZOD Center this season.
Harris managed four points and seven assists in less than 19 first-half minutes. He went to the locker room midway through the first quarter and returned just minutes later, but was clearly bothered by the hamstring.
"The first possession (when we) opened it up and ran, it twitched a little bit and the soreness came back," Harris said. "It's just one of those things, you don't want to make it worse than what it already is."
Sacramento's Kevin Martin came off the bench for the fourth consecutive game since returning from an ankle injury. After scoring 45 points in Saturday's loss at Indiana, he poured in 25 of his 36 points in the first half and sparked the Kings to a tremendous second quarter.
Martin scored 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting as Sacramento dominated the quarter with 37 points on 13-of-19 shooting. Martin made his first six shots before missing a jumper at 5:20 but scored Sacramento's next seven points for a 48-39 cushion with 3:45 to go in the half.
The Kings carried a 55-43 lead into halftime, but the Nets clamped down in the second half on Martin, who managed just 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting thereafter.
"He's a tremendous player and he's got a game that you don't see often," Carter said. "The goal was for us to just make it tough for him in the second half and make him give up the ball and, if we're going to lose the game, we lost it from someone else taking shots."
Sacramento could not find anyone else to fill the void as its starting lineup combined for just 33 points and made only 15-of-42 shots, including a 1-of-8 performance from John Salmons.
"In the second half, we came out and made some bad decisions and (the Nets) got their rhythm going," Kings interim coach Kenny Natt said. "Look out our starting five and their production. We're challenging guys to do some soul-searching and step up. It's a task to find someone to come out and give us something on both ends."
NEW JERSEY 98 FINAL
Jan 5 9:55 PM
NEW JERSEY 72 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 5 9:20 PM
NEW JERSEY 43 HALFTIME
Jan 5 8:38 PM
NEW JERSEY 23 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 5 8:07 PM
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