BOSTON (AP) – Vince Carter scored 23 points, 16 in the fourth quarter, and Jason Kidd added 19 as the New Jersey Nets snapped a six-game losing streak with a 106-103 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

Paul Pierce’s jumper from the corner gave the Celtics a two-point lead with 1:41 remaining, but Richard Jefferson sank a 3-pointer 22 seconds later to give the Nets the lead for good at 104-103.

Carter added a pair of free throws with 17 seconds remaining after Pierce missed a long 3-pointer.

Wally Szczerbiak had a chance to tie it with 3 seconds to go, but curiously drove baseline and lost the ball out of bounds as time expired. A frustrated Pierce looked at Szczerbiak holding up three fingers to indicate how many points were needed to tie the game. Szczerbiak walked over to Celtics coach Doc Rivers and apologized as Pierce walked off the court annoyed.

Pierce scored 31 and Szczerbiak added 25 for Boston.

Trailing 92-82 with 9:32 remaining in the game, New Jersey responded with an 11-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws by rookie Hassan Adams, for its first lead since 1:09 remained in the first quarter.

Adams had a career-high 16 points and eight rebounds.

Pierce scored nine points during a 13-0 Boston run to give the Celtics their biggest lead of the game, 77-62 with 4 minutes remaining in the third. Kidd single-handedly kept the Nets in the game with 12 points in the third to close the gap to 84-76 after three.

The Celtics (5-9) and Nets (6-9) were fighting for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Kidd also added eight rebounds and nine assists while snapping a streak of five straight games scoring in single figures. He was 10-of-43 from the field during that stretch. New Jersey ended a drought of scoring under 100 points in six straight games.

Gerald Green and Al Jefferson combined to score the first 15 points of the second quarter to give the Celtics a 43-40 lead with 6 minutes remaining in the half.

Notes: Pierce and Szczerbiak combined for 23 of Boston’s 29 points in the third quarter. … Nets C Nenad Krstic is averaging career highs with 16 points and seven rebounds per game. … Kidd is one triple-double shy of tying Wilt Chamberlain for third on the career list at 78. Oscar Robertson is first with 181, followed by Magic Johnson with 138.

AP-ES-11-29-06 2223EST


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