Taking it to the next level

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

In the wake of an extremely hard-fought win against the once-listless Raptors, New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank noted that the future looks bright for Canada's team.

"To Toronto's credit and to Sam Mitchell's credit, they're playing at a much different level," Frank said after the Nets beat the Raptors 105-104 yesterday at the Air Canada Centre, New Jersey's 10th consecutive victory.

"They've won five of six, they're a team that has found the way. They're going to be in the running down the stretch."

WHATEVER YOU SAY

Nets star Vince Carter said yesterday becoming a father last summer -- he had a baby daughter -- has made him a better free-throw shooter.

"You learn a lot of things, you learn to be patient a little more, that's the biggest thing," Carter said. "It has helped my free throw shooting.

"Sometimes, I get out there and rush it. Now, I take my time and am shooting a better percentage because of it."

Heading into yesterday's game, Carter was shooting a career-best 86% from the charity stripe.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

When Carter comes to town, fans get creative.

Signs included:

- Very Immature Needs Cuddling Everyday

- Tickets $416, Beer $60, those No. 15 jerseys worthles

ALL-STAR TALK

While Carter has said he wouldn't mind if he is not selected to the all-star game next month, the Nets star is casting a vote for former teammate Chris Bosh.

"I feel he's a definite all-star," Carter said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence, shooting the ball extremely well. I just hope he doesn't get frustrated by it (if he doesn't make the all-star team).

"Just because you don't make the all star team doesn't mean you're not a good player or a great player. I hope he understands that and I will tell him.

"Hearing that he should be an all-star, I hope it doesn't burst his bubble if it doesn't happen. I hope it kind of motivates him to play even better in the second half of the season."


Videos

Photos