89 - 100 Final
  for this game

Carter leads shorthanded Nets to third straight home win

Jan 8, 2009 - 4:57 AM By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Maybe the New Jersey Nets made a New Year's resolution to begin winning at home.

Vince Carter scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half as the Nets won their third straight home game Wednesday, 100-89, over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Carter dished out 12 assists and replacement Keyon Dooling had eight helpers and scored nine points as the Nets won without point guard Devin Harris, their leading scorer, who was sidelined with a sore hamstring. New Jersey had been 0-4 without Harris.

"We built up the trust factor where we know even if he's not there, everyone's moving on a string," Carter said. "We're just trusting each other, knowing where we're going to be. It's just great to see and hopefully we'll continue to do so."

"I think a big part of the energy was Keyon playing 40 (minutes)," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "It's hard to play 40 minutes out there and he gave us great energy and had some great trips on the ball."

After opening the season 5-12 at the IZOD Center, the Nets have started their 2009 home slate with wins over the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Memphis. They erased deficits of 20 and 13 points, respectively, in the first two wins but never trailed against the Grizzlies - the first time this season they did not relinquish the lead in a game.

"That (Atlanta game) was kind of the turning point for us (at home)," Dooling said. "It maybe is a combination of everything. Maybe it was one of our New Year's resolutions. It was at the top of everybody's list. We want to be a better home team."

Rookie O.J. Mayo scored 26 points and Rudy Gay added 23 to lead the Grizzlies, who are 2-10 in their last 12 games and have lost four straight on the road. Memphis has not won outside of Tennessee since December 10 in Oklahoma City, and its only other victory away from home was at Golden State on November 7.

"We went with a smaller lineup just to get some more defense on Vince Carter," Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We just didn't execute. We didn't recover from the slow start. Tonight we got outhustled."

The Nets scored the first seven points of the game, then fell into their only tie, 10-10, before taking the lead for good on Brook Lopez's dunk with 7:44 left in the first quarter. Bobby Simmons and Yi Jianlian followed with jumpers to extend the lead to six.

Carter made four free throws and a 3-pointer in a span of less than two minutes to give the Nets a 27-15 lead, which they extended to 32-18 by the end of the period.

Lopez had 17 points, eight rebounds and tied his career high with five blocks for New Jersey, which shot 54 percent (37-of-68) from the field and was 21-of-23 from the foul line, including Carter's 12-of-14. Yi added 20 points and six rebounds.

The Grizzlies finally sliced the deficit into single digits in the third as Gay scored on a jumper and a dunk and Mayo knocked down a 15-footer to cap a 10-2 run that cut the deficit to 73-67 with 3:07 left. Memphis got no closer. The Grizzlies finished the third down, 81-71, and got within seven at the 2:14 mark and again with 24 seconds left.

"We played catch-up from there and with a young team, you just can't do that," Iavaroni said.

Yi answered with buckets in both cases to push the lead back to nine and finished with 20 or more points in consecutive games for the first time in his career. He scored 22 on Monday against Sacramento.

Mayo went 4-of-8 from long range but the rest of the Grizzlies were 0-of-7 from the arc. Marc Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis, which shot 47 percent (35-of-74) from the field.

"We get on a little run and start making some shots, (and) we figure we'll do it again and start playing a little bit selfish," Gasol said. "We play as individuals, not moving without the ball, not cutting and just taking outside shots instead."

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