Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/5

Game 1: Friday, November 5th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 28th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 1st
Game 4: Wednesday, March 16th

Nets 84

(10-17, 4-10 away)

Bulls 80

(9-17, 6-8 home)

    Coverage: WGN

    7:30 PM ET, December 28, 2004

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 12 18 21 3384
    CHI 12 19 25 2480

    Top Performers

    New Jersey: V. Carter 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Chicago: K. Hinrich 30 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Carter leads Nets with 25 points; Kidd nearly held scoreless

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Vince Carter and the Nets are trying to get to know each other, and on Tuesday night they jelled just in time.

    Carter had 25 points and six rebounds to lead New Jersey to an 84-80 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

    Carter finished 9-of-23 in his second game for New Jersey, one night after limping off the court in an overtime loss at Detroit with a cramp in his left hamstring.

    "I think day by day, with practice, I'll feel more comfortable," said Carter, who said his leg felt fine.

    Richard Jefferson and Nenad Krstic each added 17 points for New Jersey.

    Kirk Hinrich led Chicago with 30 points and Ben Gordon added 19.

    The Nets' offense was out of sync until the final 2 minutes. Jason Kidd was almost held scoreless for the first time since Nov. 17, 2001, and Carter started limping early in the first quarter and didn't score during the first 9 minutes of the fourth.

    But the Nets finally got their act together in the final minutes. After Hinrich hit a jumper to give Chicago a 76-71 lead with 2:11 left, New Jersey responded with a 10-0 run.

    Carter scored four straight points, then Kidd hit Krstic with a nice pass for a layup to give the Nets a 77-76 lead with 1:04 left. Chicago's Luol Deng made a turnover and Kidd picked a good time to make his only shot -- a 3-pointer that gave New Jersey an 80-76 lead with 27.8 seconds left.

    "Vince made a great read. I acted like I was on fire and pointed like 'throw me the ball,' " said Kidd.

    Kidd finished with just four points, but contributed with 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

    Jefferson secured the victory for the Nets with a block on Andres Nocioni with 20 seconds remaining.

    "I know [Nocioni]," Jefferson said. "He has the reputation that he wants to take a big shot. He's been in some big games over Europe and I played against him in the Olympics and in Puerto Rico."

    The Bulls' offense sputtered when Gordon fouled out with 2:56 left.

    "He wasn't ready, he was caught unaware, he didn't know what was going on, got caught in a bad spot," Bulls head coach Scott Skiles said. "And obviously that hurt us because him and Kirk were really the only ones that could get anything going."

    Chicago committed 25 turnovers, 15 in the second half.

    "I thought we just didn't make plays," Hinrich said. "They kind of kept pushing it, while we kind of slowed down, maybe got a little tentative. We probably should have been more aggressive the last three minutes of the game, we got a rebound and we kind of slowed it up."

    Carter missed his first four shots in his first start for the Nets and New Jersey missed its first 10 overall before Krstic scored with 5:47 left in the first quarter.

    "We got shots and the looks that we wanted early in the first quarter and early in the third quarter," Carter said. "It just didn't go down."

    The Nets finished 5-of-21 in the first period, but the Bulls were just as bad, shooting 5-of-18. The two teams entered the second quarter tied at 12.

    Things didn't improve much in the second, and Chicago led 31-30 at the break. Carter had 13 points during the first half, when the Nets shot 27.5 percent.

    Game notes

    The Nets placed guard Ron Mercer on the injured list before the game and signed forward Jerome Moiso.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 80
    FGM-FGA 29-76 (.382) 27-62 (.435)
    3PM-3PA 3-15 (.200) 4-10 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 23-30 (.767) 22-31 (.710)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-35 7-41
    Assists 20 15
    Turnovers 14 25
    Steals 11 3
    Blocks 5 3
    Fast Break Points 4 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 26 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 5 7

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Vince Carter Carter
    Points: 25
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Kirk Hinrich Hinrich
    Points: 30
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1