CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Vince Carter overcame a sore ankle and knee to score 23 points and lead the New Jersey Nets over the Charlotte Bobcats 97-84 on Wednesday night.

The win was the 1,000th in franchise history for the Nets and improved them to 5-0 against the Bobcats.

Charlotte, meanwhile, has dropped five straight.

The Nets needed Carter to snap their two-game losing streak that included a humiliating 95-82 loss to Toronto on Saturday night. Carter was injured in that game, briefly leaving after tweaking his ankle, only to return and later complain of a swollen knee.

If either was bothering him against the Bobcats, Carter didn’t let it show. He shot 10-for-21 and had seven rebounds in 38 minutes.

And he played hard until the end, missing a dunk late in the game and watching Emeka Okafor grab the rebound. But before Okafor could push the ball out, Carter swatted it out of his hands and helped the Nets convert it into another basket.

Richard Jefferson finished with 21 points for the Nets. Nenad Krstic had 17 and Jason Kidd finished with 11 points and 11 assists.

Brevin Knight led Charlotte with 23 points. Primoz Brezec had 11 points and Gerald Wallace finished with 10.

The Nets took a 45-37 lead into halftime behind a strong performance by Carter, who had 16 points before the break.

Charlotte opened the second half with a strong defensive push, forcing the Nets into several misses and turnovers while pulling back into the game and then taking a 48-47 lead on Knight’s basket. The lead seesawed all the way to a 55-all tie on Wallace’s dunk.

But Wallace was called for a technical foul for hanging on the basket, the Nets made the free throw and never looked back, building a 72-61 lead after the third quarter.

The Bobcats tried to claw back into it – and had momentum and the crowd behind them when Knight scored on a fast break from Raymond Felton to cut it to 79-74 with 7:14 to play. But New Jersey immediately silenced the building with a 3-pointer from Kidd.

Notes: Bobcats guard Kareem Rush did not play because of a sprained index finger on his shooting hand. … The Nets were without center Jason Collins, who has a lower right leg injury. … Carter, a North Carolina alum, and Jeff McInnis, a Charlotte native, had unusually small cheering sections: The two purchased five tickets apiece. … The announced attendance of 14,622 was the lowest turnout of the season. … The crowd gave a rousing ovation to Carolina running back DeShaun Foster in honor of becoming the first Panther to go over 100 yards this season in Sunday’s win over Atlanta.

AP-ES-12-07-05 2213EST


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