Rose steals the show

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

Somebody forgot to tell the denizens of the New Jersey swamp that yesterday's game between the host Nets and Toronto Raptors was big news.

The atmosphere inside the Continental Airlines Arena last night, with an announced crowd of 14,080, was low key to say the least.

Apparently the much-anticipated first showdown between New Jersey's Vince Carter and his former team failed to fire up the imagination of Nets fans, who stayed away in droves.

But Toronto's Jalen Rose stood tall amidst all of the indifference, doing a tremendous job guarding Carter while contributing huge offensively as the Raptors defeated the Nets 100-82, for only their fifth road win of the season.

Rose shot 12-for-15 from the floor, for 30 points while pulling in eight rebounds to lead the Raptors, who improved to 22-32 on the season.

Carter, who appeared tired after spending the last four days in Denver for the all-star break, was dreadful from the floor, shooting 8-for-25 with 22 points and four turnovers, although he did pick up seven boards and four assists.

Still, a sub-par performance for the man once known as Air Canada, who was traded to the Nets on Dec.17 for three players and two draft choices.

Rose actually told head coach Sam Mitchell at the morning shootaround yesterday that he was going to have a big game, and he was true to his word, although he certainly refused to rub salt in Carter's wounds.

"While he was running up and down the court (at the all-star game) throwing it off the backboard, I was lying on a beach somewhere drinking a fruity drink, with an umbrella," Rose said.

"So I probably gave myself an unfair advantage."

Mitchell described the victory as one of his team's best defensive efforts of the season.

Indeed, it was the largest win margin on the road by the Raptors since Nov.10, 2001.

"We had a lot of things going against us," Carter said of his team's showing, as the Nets dropped to 23-31.

POOR EFFORT

"Hopefully we can bounce back and really get ourselves back on track."

Carter wrapped up a poor evening by fouling Toronto's Donyell Marshall from three-point range, with Marshall hitting two of three frees for a 85-68 lead with just over five minutes left.

He then turned the ball over with three minutes on the clock. That pretty well sealed the deal.

Jason Kidd added 20 points and eight assists for the Nets.

Carter has been a veritable Jeckyl and Hyde this season.

With the Raptors, he averaged a below-par 21.9 points per game and has improved that to 26.2 with the Nets, while admitting on the TNT Network a few weeks ago that he didn't always give it his all while with the Raptors earlier this season.

Chris Bosh had a double-double for Toronto, with 16 points and 12 boards.

The Raptors shot 48% and picked up 48 rebounds to the Nets' 43.


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