The Nets may be reconsidering whether they want to acquire Blazers bad boy Ruben Patterson because of his character issues.
He pleaded guilty to attempted rape in 2001 and has been convicted of misdemeanor assault.
The Nets discussed sending Marc Jackson and Jeff McInnis to Portland for Patterson and perhaps another player. They continue exploring options for a defensive-minded big man or swingman, but Nets president Rod Thorn said nothing is close to happening.
Much to management's content, the Nets' bench is being used more and has come through lately.
Thorn and general manager Ed Stefanski want their off-season acquisitions to play so they can see what they have, what they need, and maybe raise some guys' trade value. Coach Lawrence Frank has been going with a 10- or 11-man rotation, although he went nine deep Friday with starter Jason Collins out with a sprained right ankle.
"We have gone deeper, and those guys have performed well," Frank said.
Jeff McInnis and Zoran Planinic - both in Frank's top nine earlier this season - have been out of the rotation. Neither seems to understand why. But with the Nets winning five straight, you can't argue with the results.
Vince Carter's 51 points were the most scored by any player at AmericaAirlines Arena, surpassing Alonzo Mourning's 43 against the Nets on Feb. 23, 2000.
Carter matched his career high, set Feb. 27, 2000 against Jason Kidd's Phoenix Suns.
Heat coach Pat Riley didn't watch the Nets when he was an executive, but now that he's scouted them, he's impressed.
"They're a great team," Riley said. "Jason is back. Vince and [Richard] Jefferson, I can't think of two other guys in the league that do what they do, that are together, that have more athleticism, explosion, talent and ability to really play."