TORONTO (AP) -- On a day when Kenyon Martin and Lucious Harris
returned from injuries for the New Jersey Nets, Vince Carter went
down with a sprained ankle that could sideline him for the rest of
Martin, in his first game back after missing three with a
sprained right knee, had 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Nets
defeated the Toronto Raptors 96-87 Sunday. Harris added 15 points
after missing three games with a sprained left ankle.
"There's no better time than now than to get everybody back and
playing well going into the playoffs,'' Martin said.
Carter had a team-high 28 points before he sprained his left
ankle with 31 seconds remaining.
Raptors spokesman Jim LaBumbard said Carter will "most likely
miss'' the final six games of the season. Carter did not comment
after the game.
Embattled coach Lenny Wilkens defended his decision to keep
Carter in the game despite being down by nine with 31 seconds left.
"There was still time and guys want to win,'' Wilkens said.
Carter landed hard on his ankle after taking a shot over Richard
Jefferson. He was helped to the locker room, and X-rays of the
ankle were negative.
The All-Star guard missed 23 games earlier this season with a
strained right knee. He also missed 10 games with a left knee
Jefferson added 16 points for the Nets, including an alley-oop
pass on which Jason Kidd bounced Jefferson a pass off the backboard.
Martin's undefended layup gave New Jersey a 94-87 lead with 1:08
left, and Harris made a jumper with just under a minute left.
Martin scored six of New Jersey's final eight points.
"I'm sore now,'' Martin said. "We've got three days, so I've
got three days to rest.''
Carter went 1-for-10 from the field in the second half before
making two free throws and a running jumper, cutting New Jersey's
lead to seven with 3:07 left.
Starting center Jason Collins had a season-high 14 points on
5-of-6 shooting for the Nets, who have won six of seven.
Dikembe Mutombo, who complained about playing time Saturday, had
four points and six rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.
"I'm not here to create controversy. I'm a man for peace,''
Kidd was 0-for-6 from the field before sparking an 8-0 run with
a layup in the third quarter.
Kidd later stole the ball from Rafer Alston and passed it off the backboard to Jefferson, whose dunk gave New Jersey a 13-point
lead. A 3-pointer by Kidd gave the Nets a 15-point lead just before
the end of the quarter.
Carter had 20 points, including 17 in the first quarter, but New
Jersey led 49-46 at halftime. Martin had 12 and Harris 11 the first
Toronto's Morris Peterson dunked over Mutombo in the first
Toronto's Antonio Davis missed his fifth straight game with
a strained groin. ... Voshon Lenard missed the game with a bruised
knee. ... Kidd had 13 assists. ... Wilkens lost his 1,108th game.
He surpassed Bill Fitch's record for career coaching losses Friday
when San Antonio beat Toronto 124-98. Wilkens is the winningest
coach in league history with 1,292 victories.
After 14 seasons, Amar'e Stoudemire announced his retirement. He elected to do so as a member of the Knicks.
In just three NBA seasons, Solomon Hill has vacillated through enough roles to last a long, full career. The former late first-round pick started as a reserve on the big-is-beautiful Indiana Pacers team that finished first in the Eastern Conference before being slingshot into the starting lineup the following season in place of an injured Paul George.
If the Thunder can sign Russell Westbrook to a max contract, they'll have a player who is capable of taking over the game all by himself.