EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., April 25 (Ticker) -- Vince Carter may not have been fazed by criticism, but Jermaine O'Neal is certainly bothered by the officiating.

Carter scored 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting as the New Jersey Nets evened their Eastern Conference first-round series with a 90-75 Game 2 victory over the Indiana Pacers, who again were hampered by foul trouble to their All-Star forward.

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Carter was criticized for his shot selection after making just 12-of-33 shots in Sunday's Game 1 loss. But he came out attacking the basket Tuesday, helping the Nets open a big lead before dominating the fourth quarter to turn back a rally by the Pacers.

"I thought I had a (good) game last time but (the shots) just didn't fall," Carter said. "I play the game for my team and if it's good enough for them, that's all I care about."

"It was unfair for him to be criticized for the 33 shots because we put so much pressure on him to carry us," Nets point guard Jason Kidd said. "He's been focused. He wanted a playoff win."

O'Neal was stifled for the second straight game, playing less than 33 minutes as he was plagued by fouls, including two charging calls. He received two personal fouls and a technical in the first quarter and picked up his fourth foul less than a minute into the third period.

"I don't understand it," he said. "When I use the same moves I've made in the last four or five years that have made me an All-Star and (the referees) honor a flop. They're holding on to me. You have to find a way (to play through it) and I will find a way."

"We can't afford not to have him for 35-40 minutes in a playoff game," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm not going to criticize the officials because they're working hard, but it is something that needs to be looked at."

O'Neal struggled with the physical defense of Jason Collins, Clifford Robinson and Nenad Krstic, managing just 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting while committing six turnovers.

Stephen Jackson and rookie Danny Granger also were limited by foul trouble to make matters worse for the Pacers, who were without forward Peja Stojakovic due to a sore right knee.

New Jersey shot 59 percent (10-of-17) from the floor in the first quarter and was led by Carter, who scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and continually attacked the defense.

"It wasn't really a chip (on my shoulder), just focus," Carter said. "I wanted to get my first win. They brought me here not to win 49 (regular-season) games, but to win playoff games."

Richard Jefferson scored 13 of his 21 points in the third period to give the Nets a 73-53 cushion entering the fourth quarter - which the Pacers opened with an 18-6 run, pulling within 79-71 on a fast-break dunk by Jackson with 3:32 left.

Carter took over with five consecutive points, making a technical free throw with 3:08 left and nailing a jumper 11 seconds later. He added a dunk off a long pass from Kidd with 2:31 left for an 84-71 cushion.

New Jersey made just seven baskets in the fourth quarter, but Carter was involved in all of them. He sank five shots and assisted on the other two buckets, jumpers by Krstic and Kidd.

Krstic had 20 points and 10 rebounds for his first playoff double-double and Kidd fell four points shy of his ninth career postseason triple-double with 11 rebounds and 13 assists for the Nets, who snapped a seven-game postseason losing streak.

"The first one is always the toughest," Kidd said. "We haven't won a playoff game for some time. It means a lot to us to get one under our belt and now we can move on."

New Jersey shot 47 percent (33-of-71) and held Indiana to just 35 percent (28-of-79) in a physical game that featured four technicals.

"The first game we were more passive and tonight we came out with the intention of playing defense for 48 minutes," Kidd said. "(The physical play) is what the playoffs are all about. It was expected."

Former Net Anthony Johnson scored 17 points and Fred Jones added 13 off the bench for Indiana, which hosts Game 3 on Thursday.