EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Vince Carter made his case on
Saturday that he should've been voted a starter for the Eastern
Conference for this month's All-Star game.
Carter put more than half of his points on the board in the
first quarter when he was being guarded by the Heat's Dwyane Wade,
the player who beat him out for one of the starting guard positions
for the Eastern Conference.
"I was taking what they were giving me early," Carter said.
"I was free on some pick-and-rolls and was able to get into the
lane and make things happen. Later I was able to find open guys and
they were knocking them down."
One player who benefited was forward Clifford Robinson, who
started in place of ailing Nenad Krstic and responded with a
season-high 23 points, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range.
Richard Jefferson scored 26 for New Jersey (24-21), which shot
42-for-79 (53 percent) and never trailed in the game.
Wade scored 31 points for the Heat (29-19), but got little help
from his teammates, who shot 20-of-56 (36 percent). Antoine Walker
scored 19 off the bench for Miami, which had a four-game winning
The Nets' last two home wins have come against Miami and
Detroit, the teams with the top two records in the Eastern
Conference. What has kept them just barely over .500 is an
inability to bottle that momentum and take it on the road, where
they have lost six straight and nine of 10.
"We play at a high level at home, and I hope we can continue to
do that and carry that on the road," Carter said. "It seems like
on the road we always dig ourselves a hole and have to fight out of
No digging out was required Saturday, though on two occasions
the Nets had to fend off rallies by the Heat. Miami scored 14
straight points to cut a 16-point deficit to two before halftime,
and cut a 15-point lead to one spanning the end of the third and
the beginning of the fourth quarters.
With the Nets clinging to an 84-83 lead, Robinson provided some
breathing room with a three-point play on a backdoor layup off a
pass from Jefferson. His 3-pointer with 3:27 left kicked off a 10-0
Nets run that increased the lead to 101-87 with less than 2 minutes
"I just tried to do what I had to do," said Robinson, who is
in his 17th season and has been in the NBA longer than any other
active player. "I've been playing a long time, been a starter in
this league and come off the bench too, and been effective at both.
So to step in and start and be effective shouldn't be a surprise to
With Krstic out with the flu, the job of defending Shaquille
O'Neal fell to Jason Collins, and he neutralized the Heat center in
the first half, allowing him only six shots and five points. O'Neal
finished with 11 points, his fourth-lowest total of the season.
"It was a long day for us," said Heat guard Gary Payton, who
was 0-for-6 and went scoreless. "I couldn't make a shot. Shaq
couldn't get it going. The only ones who kept us in it were Dwyane
and Antoine, and Alonzo (Mourning) played well. We can't have just
three people playing well."
The 10 straight home wins is the third-longest streak in
Nets history. The 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 teams each won 13
straight. ... F Udonis Haslem was inactive for the Heat because of
a death in his family. ... Robinson played 37 minutes to pass Bill
Russell and move into 16th place on the NBA's all-time list. ...
New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera gave out autographed
baseballs on the court during a timeout in the third quarter.
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