EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Vince Carter returned to New Jersey and scored 16 points before leaving the game against his former teammates in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle and the Orlando Magic rolled to a 95-85 victory Friday night.
All-Star center Dwight Howard more than made up for Carter's absence with 20 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks as the Magic won their second straight and handed the Nets their second loss in as many games.
Former Net Ryan Anderson, who was sent to Orlando in the deal with Carter, added 16 points for the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Courtney Lee, who was traded to the Nets along with Rafer Alston and Tony Battie in the draft-day deal for Carter, had 18 points. All-Star guard Devin Harris added 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting, but most of his points came after the outcome was decided.
The focus of the Nets' home opener was Carter's return, and the 11-year veteran did not disappoint his followers after getting a standing ovation from many in the crowd during the introduction of the starting lineups.
The eight-time All-Star drove down the right side of the lane for a dunk on the opening possession and was 5-of-7 from the field in the first quarter for 12 points. He finished 6-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range.
His night ended with 3:05 left in the first half. Dribbling around the top of the key, Carter stepped on Harris' foot and immediately fell to the court, clutching his ankle.
Play was not stopped for another 10 seconds and Carter needed about a minute before getting up and going to the bench. He stayed there for about a minute and went to the locker room. He did not return for the second half.
While the Nets were within six points at halftime, the Magic used a seven-point run to open a 57-44 lead early in the third quarter. Howard, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds in the first quarter, started the run with a dunk. Jameer Nelson, who was limited to three minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, then made two free throws and a 3-pointer for the 13-point lead.
New Jersey closed within 69-62 late in the third quarter before Howard tipped in a shot and Brandon Bass hit two jumpers for a 75-62 lead. Bass scored all 13 of his points in the second half.
Howard missed his first six free throws in the first quarter and finished 2-of-9 in the quarter. He was 4-of-11 in the game. … Nets starting ceenter Brook Lopez was in foul trouble all game and had 11 points. … New Jersey only had seven turnovers.