Carter has 45 as Nets make late playoff run
Jason Kidd added 17 assists as New Jersey won for the 11 time in 14 games.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Vince Carter had a career quarter and almost a career game.
Carter outscored the Boston Celtics 24-19 in the first quarter en route to a season-best 45-point performance, helping the New Jersey Nets continue their late playoff push with a 99-86 victory on Saturday afternoon.
Jason Kidd added a season-high 17 assists and rookie center Nenad Krstic had 17 points in leading the Nets to their 11th win in 14 games.
Paul Pierce had 16 points to lead the Celtics, who saw coach Doc Rivers get ejected after just 1:41 for arguing a call with referee Tim Donaghy.
The good news for Rivers was he didn't have to watch Carter.
Hot shooting game
The All-Star finished 18-of-32 from the field, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range. He hit his first six shots and 9-of-10, including all five 3-pointers in the first quarter as New Jersey took a 37-19 lead.
The 24 points were a single-quarter high in the NBA this year -- four players had 22. The total was also Carter's best in his seven-year career, four better than his previous high, last done against Golden State on Nov. 7, 2001.
While the quarter was spectacular, Carter had other moments in the game that got the crowd out of their seats.
Carter, who has scored 30 points 21 times with the Nets, hit a late 3-pointer in the second quarter that helped New Jersey take a 55-44 halftime lead. And he had two phenomenal plays in the third quarter with Boston still close.
With Boston trailing 64-53, Carter hit a layup and then got up off the court and made an alley-oop layup on a pass from Kidd. What made the play so interesting was that Celtics guard Gary Payton pushed Carter to the floor and stood over him for a couple of seconds before Carter got up and made the play.
The other highlight came on a fastbreak. Carter probably should have been called for an offensive foul but he took a pass from Kidd and, with his back to the basket, threw a shot over his shoulder that banked in.
The officials didn't seem to care that Delonte West was bowled over on the play.
Carter's career best was 51 against Phoenix in 2000. The Nets' franchise single-game record is 52 points, held jointly by Mike Newlin against Boston in December 1979 and Ray Williams at Detroit in April 1982.
Rivers was hit with consecutive technical fouls by Donaghy for arguing an offensive foul call against Antoine Walker.
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