BOSTON, April 14 (Ticker) -- Clifford Robinson had the New Jersey Nets looking like a different team when it mattered most.

Robinson scored nine of his 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets posted a sloppy 79-74 victory over the Boston Celtics.

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Vince Carter scored 15 points and Richard Jefferson 12 for the Nets (48-31), who recovered from an awful first half when they scored a laughable 25 points.

"We had good shots, but the iron was unkind," said Carter, who had just four points on 1-of-11 shooting in the first half. "It was great looks so it was kind of encouraging. We were still executing and getting what we wanted we just couldn't get that thing to fall down."

In the first half, the Nets shot just 24 percent (9-of-38) and committed eight turnovers. They shot 56 percent (20-of-36) after the break.

After taking a 55-53 lead after three quarters, the Nets were able to hold on thanks to Robinson, who made all four of his shots in the final period. The 17-year veteran made a clutch 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to give the Nets a 78-71 lead.

Despite the win, the Nets are locked into the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. New Jersey was chasing Miami, which beat Philadelphia on Friday night to clinch the second seed.

"We went out to win the game," said Nets coach Lawrence Frank, who sat his starters out of the fourth quarter in Wednesday night's loss to Philadelphia. "Our bench guys played big minutes and gave us a huge lift."

The Nets need two wins in their final three games to reach 50.

"50 wins is 50 wins," Robinson said. "But you don't want to put yourself in a situation where you relax and you try to pick it back up during the playoffs."

Paul Pierce scored 22 points and rookie Ryan Gomes had 17 and 14 rebounds for the Celtics (32-47).

"We turned the ball over and shot ourselves in the foot," Pierce said. "We're disappointed in the way we lost. We felt like this is a game we could have won."

The Celtics missed 15 free throws and committed 17 turnovers.