EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 2 (Ticker) --
For the second
consecutive game, Vince Carter
carried the New Jersey Nets to a
Carter scored 34 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as the Nets
posted a 92-86 triumph over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of
their Eastern Conference first-round series.
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scored 24 points, Nenad Krstic
added 19 and 11
rebounds and Jason Kidd
dished out a postseason
franchise-record 15 assists for New Jersey, which can advance to
the conference semifinals with a win at Indiana in Thursday's
After dropping two of the first three contests in this series,
the Nets have bounced back with two straight victories due to
Carter, who has poured in a total of 62 points in his last two
The high-flying Carter dominated in this one, shooting 13-of-24
from the floor while handing out seven assists.
"Vince is so talented, he makes the game so easy for his
teammates," Kidd said. "He puts a lot of pressure on the
opponent. He's not settling ... We are going to need that in
Carter's athleticism was on display in the final minutes, when
he drove past rookie Danny Granger
and risked his sixth foul by
jumping over Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal
. Carter was able to
turn his body to avoid contact with O'Neal, but pulled off a
lefthanded dunk to give the Nets a 91-86 lead with 29 seconds
"I wasn't trying to draw any fouls and when you get in a
situation like that you have to put the ball in the basket,"
Carter said. "If you try to pick up fouls, it could backfire on
you and it was an opportunity where a big basket was needed. I
was able to get a lane and get to the basket and try to avoid
"He's so athletic," O'Neal said. "It just kind of happened so
quickly. My decision was to step up and try to take a charge,
but he just kind of went to the side and got the shot off."
Kidd also fueled an efficient attack for New Jersey, which
collected 32 assists on 36 baskets and never trailed after the
Trailing by seven after three quarters, the Pacers opened the
fourth with a 7-0 run to forge a 72-72 tie with 10:40 remaining.
But Carter drilled a jumper 12 seconds later to give the Nets
the lead for good.
New Jersey pushed its advantage to 87-81 with 1:22 left on
Jefferson's 3-pointer from the right corner, but Indiana
answered when Austin Croshere
knocked down a 3-pointer on the
It set the stage for Carter, who pump-faked a defender at the
arc before moving in for a short jumper from the right elbow,
giving the Nets an 89-84 lead with 51 seconds remaining.
O'Neal had 19 points, seven rebounds and four blocks despite
playing with flu-like symptoms. He made 8-of-18 shots from the
floor and was just 3-of-8 from the line, missing three free
throws on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter.
"Part of the problem was that Jermaine was sick (Monday) and he
was really exhausted in the first half," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle
said. "I know his physical situation contributed to
some of his struggles. We just didn't have the luxury of
sitting him much tonight."
Former Net Anthony Johnson
scored 14 points and Fred Jones
14 off the bench as the Pacers fell to 0-3 in the series
without second-leading scorer Peja Stojakovic
, who was sidelined
with a sore right knee.
"We are not making excuses," Jones said. "We have guys on this
team that can play basketball. All of us have to step up when
people are out and win games. There is no excuse. We would
love to have had them, but they couldn't go and we all had to
"It's been an uphill battle for us all year," O'Neal said.
"It's unfortunate but we are still trying to fight out there.
We are trying to win the game and we're trying to go with the
guys we have. Hopefully we can get some of our guys back in
this series. Right now, it's just win or go home for us."