Vince Carter is glad he won't see the Palace of Auburn Hills again this season. At least not until the playoffs. Carter scored 23 points in his debut with New Jersey but left in...
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Vince Carter is glad he won’t see the Palace of Auburn Hills again this season.
At least not until the playoffs.
Carter scored 23 points in his debut with New Jersey but left in overtime with a cramp in his left hamstring, and the Nets fell to the Detroit Pistons 100-90 last night.
“I’m OK. It just cramped up,” he said. “I’ll be fine as soon as I get some fluids into me.”
The game was his first since he strained an Achilles tendon in Toronto’s 90-86 overtime loss to the Pistons on Dec. 8. He was traded to the Nets on Dec. 17.
“I guess this is twice here, but I’m sure the cramps would have happened anywhere,” he said. “I played a lot of minutes in my first game back, and I guess I got dehydrated. I felt good until then, and my Achilles is fine.”
He didn’t start, but he played 42 minutes and shot 8 of 19.
“Vince is one of the top players in the league, and we fully expect him to have a bright future in New Jersey,” Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. “He was under a lot of pressure tonight, and he responded extremely well. We’re just disappointed that we didn’t finish it off.”
Richard Hamilton scored a season-best 37 points for Detroit, which overcame a late eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and sent it to overtime.
“In the last two games, the coaches have definitely given us a lot more freedom to do things on offense,” Hamilton said. “I think that’s what got me my shots tonight.”
Tayshaun Prince had 18 points and nine rebounds and matched a career high with seven assists.
“I think that’s the best all-around game Tayshaun has played since I’ve been here,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said. “He had to guard (Richard) Jefferson, and they went to him a lot, but Tay challenged him and did some good things on offense.”
The Nets got the first basket of the extra period, but they misfired on their next six possessions and allowed Detroit to pull away for the easy win. The Pistons had 19 turnovers in the first three quarters, but only one in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“We finally slowed down their fast break and got some things of our own going,” Chauncey Billups said. “When you hit some shots and you take care of the ball, you are always going to have a chance to win the game.”
Jefferson had 27 points for the Nets, but Jason Kidd scored just two on 0-for-8 shooting.
Detroit led early, but Carter’s 14 points helped New Jersey take a 48-38 halftime lead. Carter also had two of New Jersey’s six first-half steals.
“With Vince and Richard, they’ve got two guys that can carry a team by themselves,” Billups said. “Together, they are going to be really tough.”
The Pistons got as close as two in the third, but a late spurt by the Nets made it a 66-61 game heading into the fourth quarter.
New Jersey led 84-76 with 3:31 left, but four points from Hamilton and two free throws by Billups got Detroit behind 84-82 with 2:08 to go.
Billups gave Detroit its first lead since the first quarter with a three-pointer.
Nenad Kristic was fouled going for a rebound, and the rookie made the first free throw, tying the score with 19 seconds left.
He missed the second.