Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nets get up off canvas

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Vince Carter was down for the count. Clocked in the chin by Brandon Bass’ elbow, Carter was left for dead at one end of court while play continued at the other.

The Nets didn’t look much better.

Carter finally got up and by the time he was ready to come back, the Nets began theirs. New Jersey seized control with a 21-4 run to finish out the first half and carried that momentum into the second to stun the Mavericks 101-82 Sunday night at the IZOD Center.

“This is not normally what we do,” Dallas coach Avery Johnson said.

The Mavs (34-16) surrendered an 11-point lead and had their three-game wining streak snapped. Their two-day, back-to-back road trip ends Monday at Philadelphia.

Carter (game-high 29 points) had only four points in 12 minutes before the leaving the game at the 8:23 mark of the second quarter with what at first appeared to be a possible concussion. Humming along behind Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard, the Mavs would take a 36-25 less than two minutes later.

New Jersey (22-29) shaved three points off the lead by the time Carter returned. He stayed on the court for the last 5:21 of the first half, as the Nets finished with a fast-breaking flurry that left the home team up 46-40 at the break.

“He’s one of their leaders,” Howard said of Carter. “I’m sure if that had happened to Dirk and he came back, it would have motivated us.”

Johnson quipped of Carter: “I was hoping he’d go back to North Carolina.”

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