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New York vs
87 - 93
Record: 16-14
NEW YORK (AP) -- The self-proclaimed "best point guard in the NBA" did not throw the pass of the night. Jason Kidd did, and Vince Carter had been waiting almost a decade to see one like it.

Carter dunked an off-the-backboard, alley-oop feed from Kidd, and the New Jersey Nets defeated the New York Knicks 93-87 Saturday night.

"It was in college, against Duke, at home -- and I missed it," Carter said of the last time he had seen such a pass. "I said the next time it ever happened again, I'd take care of it.

"I was just expecting him to throw it back to me, but when I saw him throw it off the backboard, inside I was like `Oh, I know what to do with this."'

Kidd did not outplay counterpart Stephon Marbury one day after Marbury made his bold declaration about being the NBA's best point guard.

Marbury had 31 points, eight assists and four rebounds to Kidd's 13 points, three assists and four rebounds, but the Nets led throughout the final three quarters and did what they usually do against their cross-river rivals in beating the Knicks for the 17th time in 20 meetings.

"There was no reason for him to feel he had to say that," Kidd said. "Don't hammer him too hard. It's too early in the season."

Carter, who assumed the playmaking duties for the Nets during a large part of the fourth quarter, had 16 points, five assists and six rebounds, while Richard Jefferson had 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Nazr Mohammed added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Marbury's statement was the talk of Madison Square Garden prior to tipoff.

"Don't get me wrong, I love Jason Kidd, he is a great point guard," Marbury said. "(But) how am I comparing myself to him when I think I'm the best point guard to play basketball? That makes no sense. I can't compare myself to somebody when I already think I'm the best.

"I'm telling you what it is. I know I'm the best point guard in the NBA," Marbury said.

Kidd spoke only briefly with reporters before tipoff, joking that he would be just the third-best point guard in the building, ranking himself behind Marbury and Kidd's son, 6-year-old T.J.

Jefferson was more verbose.

"John Stockton never said he was the best point guard in the NBA. Michael Jordan, I don't recall too many times him saying he was the best player, Magic Johnson. You know, not too many guys come out and say they're the best," Jefferson said. "J-Kidd has been the No. 1 point guard in the NBA for as long as I've been here, and never once has he said he's the best."

The game started getting away from the Knicks at the end of the first quarter when reserve forward Jabari Smith hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer -- the first 3 of his career -- to give the Nets a 26-20 lead.

Rodney Buford went 4-for-4 on jumpers, and Jefferson scored on a breakaway reverse jam to cap a 20-8 run and give New Jersey a 45-28 lead.

The Nets were ahead 49-36 at the half despite getting zero points and just one assist from Kidd, but their lead was reduced to 65-58 entering the fourth after Marbury had eight points and four assists in the third quarter.

Kidd tossed his off-the-backboard, alley-oop pass to Carter with 10:15 left in the fourth quarter to make it 67-60, and the Knicks remained down by at least a half-dozen points until Marbury scored on a drive to make it 87-82 with 1:04 left. New York never got closer.

"This is a step backward," Marbury said. "But like I said, we want to be on top in April. Right now doesn't matter."

Kidd tried another showy alley-oop pass about a minute after his off-the-backboard pass to Carter, but Rodney Buford was called for an offensive foul as he converted Kidd's lob into a layup. The basket didn't count. ... Kidd also had a super-high lob earlier in the game that Carter couldn't convert. "You want to throw alley-oops to see how high he really can jump, and I thought I'd try to throw it to the top of the Garden to see if he'd go get it. He tried." ... New York's Penny Hardaway was activated from the injured list before the game and saw his first action since Dec. 3. He did not score in 13 minutes, and the Knicks' reserves were outscored 26-10. ... Marbury became the first Knicks player since Patrick Ewing in 1997 to score at least 30 points in three consecutive games.

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