BOSTON -- The New Jersey Nets turned to their leaders to end a six-game losing streak.
"We've been playing bad basketball long enough," Carter said. "We (Kidd and Carter) wanted to change things and this win was much needed."
Carter added a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left after Pierce missed a long 3-pointer.
"We didn't break, but we might have bent though," Kidd said. "This should help our mental state because our comebacks have fallen short recently and we were finally able to get over the hump."
Wally Szczerbiak had a chance to tie it with 3 seconds to go, but curiously drove baseline and lost the ball out of bounds as time expired. A frustrated Pierce looked at Szczerbiak holding up three fingers to indicate how many points were needed to tie the game. Szczerbiak walked over to Celtics coach Doc Rivers and apologized as Pierce walked off the court annoyed.
"Once I saw him drive I wanted to run over and help him along because I knew they needed a 3," Carter said.
Pierce scored 31 and Szczerbiak added 25 for Boston.
"That was an awful loss," Rivers said. "We had so many opportunities down the stretch, but when you are begging for a 3 at the end of the game, you've put yourself in a tough position to begin with."
Trailing 92-82 with 9:32 remaining in the game, New Jersey responded with an 11-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws by rookie Hassan Adams, for its first lead since 1:09 remained in the first quarter.
Adams had a career-high 16 points and eight rebounds.
Kidd also added eight rebounds and nine assists while snapping a streak of five straight games scoring in single figures. He was 10-of-43 from the field during that stretch. New Jersey ended a drought of scoring under 100 points in six straight games.
"There is no one we would rather have lead our team than Kidd," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He did it with his defense and it changed the whole complex of the game."
Pierce scored nine points during a 13-0 Boston run to give the Celtics their biggest lead of the game, 77-62 with 4 minutes remaining in the third. Kidd single-handedly kept the Nets in the game with 12 points in the third to close the gap to 84-76 after three.
The Celtics (5-9) and Nets (6-9) were fighting for first place in the Atlantic Division.
- Pierce and Szczerbiak combined for 23 of Boston's 29 points in the third quarter.
- Nets C Nenad Krstic is averaging career highs with 16 points and seven rebounds per game.
- Kidd is one triple-double shy of tying Wilt Chamberlain for third on the career list at 78. Oscar Robertson is first with 181, followed by Magic Johnson with 138.