Carter leads the Nets over the Kings

January 5, 2009 8:30:09 PM PST
With leading scorer Devin Harris sidelined in the second half, the New Jersey Nets turned to Vince Carter and couple of other things that have not been as reliable - Yi Jianlian and defense. Carter scored 29 points, Yi added 22 points and a season-high 13 rebounds and the Nets limited Sacramento to 36 second-half points in handing the Kings their 11th straight road loss, 98-90 on Monday night.

"Devin didn't seem like himself, his hamstring was bothering him, so it was important for us to step it up a notch," Carter said after the Nets won consecutive home games for the first time this season. "In the second half, especially, we had not played well as a team and as individuals at home, so it was important for everybody to do a little more."

Getting 17 second-half points from Carter was no surprise. Getting 15 points and 10 rebounds from Yi was stunning.

The Chinese Olympian had not scored 20 or more points since Nov. 22, and had only one double-figure rebound game in that span.

"Yi was tremendous for us tonight, not only putting the ball in the basket, but giving us extra possessions with his aggressiveness, and blocking a couple of shots," Carter said. "It was great to see."

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.

"He has the ability," Carter said. "Sometimes, he gets down on himself. It's just great to see him show it all tonight. He showed his complete game tonight."

Kevin Martin, who scored 45 on Saturday night, had 36 points for the woeful Kings (8-27). The reserve scored 11 in the second half, when he was 3-of-12 from the field.

"We did a good job collectively in the second half of making him work harder for his shots," said Keyon Dooling, who had the defensive assignment on Martin. "He is a very unique player. He is fun to watch, not necessarily fun to play against."

Jarvis Hayes put the Nets ahead for good with a 3-pointer with 4:53 to play.

The teams got a little sloppy over the next minute when Martin was blocked by Josh Boone, Hayes missed a layup and John Salmons couldn't convert a 3-pointer.

Carter then took over. He got the ball at the top of the key and drove the lane for a dunk to make it 86-82. He was fouled on the play but missed the free throw. Boone got the rebound and sent it back to Carter for a 3-pointer that put the game away.

"That wasn't New Jersey, it was the Kings," interim coach Kenny Natt said. "We're our own worst enemy. Somewhere along the line we're going to have to grow up and grow out of that losing mentality."

Martin was spectacular in the first half, scoring 25 points in just under 17 minutes. He hit eight of nine shots from the field and all four of his 3-pointers. He almost outscored the Nets single-handedly in the second quarter with his 17 points falling three shy of New Jersey's total.

His big period, however, helped the Kings outscore New Jersey by 17 and take a 55-43 lead at the half.

Harris aggravated his injured right hamstring before the break and did not return for the second half. He left with four points and seven assists.

New Jersey cut a 12-point deficit to two after three quarters as Yi had 10 in the third and Carter added nine.

The game remained tight most of the final quarter with the Kings taking their final lead at 82-81 on a rebound follow by Brad Miller with 5:11 to go. Hayes put New Jersey ahead on the next possession with a 3 from deep in the right corner.

Hayes, a reserve, finished with 12 points.

Former Rider star Jason Thompson added 12 points for Sacramento, and Francisco Garcia finished with 10.

Notes: Yi bruised a knee in the second quarter but returned. ...

The Kings had 14 field goals in the second half. ... New Jersey made six 3-pointers in the second half, and finished with 10. ...

New Jersey outrebounded Sacramento 53-38. ..Carter had eight rebounds in the first quarter, a career best for any period. He finished with nine.