SALT LAKE CITY - Vince Carter is having a good time on the court again - and it shows.
Carter made his first five shots on his way to 30 points and the New Jersey Nets defeated the Utah Jazz 99-82 on Saturday night.
He was 5-for-5 from 3-point range and scored on a variety of drives to the basket as New Jersey never trailed in its season-high third straight win. It was Carter's second straight 30-point game. He added 10 assists and was two rebounds short of a triple-double.
And he looked happy doing it, flashing a smile that was hard to find before he was traded from Toronto to the Nets on Dec. 17.
"I am having fun. This is a new situation for me. It's a new start and I'm trying to make the most of it," he said.
Carter was aggressive from the opening tip as the Nets got off to a 9-1 lead and took a 13-point advantage in the first quarter after his driving lay-up.
"It's not the points that matter, it's just doing something for my team to get the win. Some nights it's scoring. Some nights it's rebounding. Some nights it's finding the open man," he said.
Jason Kidd scored 19 points and Nenad Krstic added 13 for the Nets, who dressed only nine players on the last game of a five-game road trip. It hardly mattered the way they shot. New Jersey made 9 of 13 from beyond the arc.
"Jason obviously set the tone, imposing his will and personality on the game, attacking down in the post. And Vince had another sensational night," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said after the Nets won for just the second time in the last 11 games at Utah.
Raja Bell was the only Jazz player in double figures with 20 points.
"It's not about making shots or missing shots or who's an All-Star and who's not an All-Star," Bell said. "It's just about fighting and we don't fight. It's frustrating because we have enough talent to do it and we just don't use it."
Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Carlos Boozer, who is Utah's leading scorer and rebounder this season, finished the game with eight points and eight rebounds after ending the first half with just two points and no boards despite playing the most minutes of the half for the Jazz.
Utah shot 38 percent and looked lethargic after dropping a 93-91 game at Minnesota on Friday. The Jazz have lost four of five games despite the return of Andrei Kirilenko, who scored seven points.
"Everybody should take a look at ourselves," Kirilenko said. "We didn't stay like team, like we usually stay. Usually we help each other."