AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 14 (Ticker) -- Brian Scalabrine was the unlikeliest hero for the New Jersey Nets on a night full of them.

Scalabrine scored a career-high 17 points, including a key 3-pointer with 41 seconds left in triple-overtime, as the Nets outlasted the Detroit Pistons, 127-120, in pivotal Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

New Jersey survived the fourth game in NBA playoff history to go at least three overtimes and took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Nets can complete their comeback from a 2-0 deficit at home on Sunday.

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Brian Scalabrine scored nine of his 17 points in overtime in Game 5.
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Scalabrine entered with a total of 19 points in his postseason career but was called upon in a game that saw four Nets and four Pistons foul out. His 3-pointer off a feed from Richard Jefferson in the third extra period opened a 122-118 advantage with 41 seconds to go.

"I'm not surprised, because basketball players always believe in themselves," Scalabrine said. "It was just great to even be part of a game like this. Every time we went to another overtime, and I think there were at least six, I thought, 'Great, I get to play five more minutes.'"

"You have to feel good for a guy like Brian," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He doesn't get a lot of chances, but he works hard and has a passion for the game, and he's always ready when we need him. He's been a factor in every game that he's played in this series, and we couldn't have won tonight without him."

Jefferson finished with 31 points, including 18 after regulation.

"We were just playing through Richard and he delivered," Frank said. "He played all that time with five fouls, too."

Trailing, 123-120, the Pistons had one last chance after New Jersey's Lucious Harris threw an inbounds pass to Detroit's Lindsey Hunter with 15 seconds left. Instead of racing in for a layup, Hunter found Chauncey Billups, whose 3-pointer was off with 12 seconds to go.

"I'm not going to second-guess Lindsey on that one," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "We were in terrible foul trouble and Chauncey had already hit some big shots. I thought he made the right play."

Billups gave the Pistons life when he banked in a 40-footer at the end of regulation to forge an 88-88 tie. New Jersey seemingly had the game won but missed 3-of-4 foul shots in the final 13 seconds of the fourth quarter to leave open the door.

"We had a chance to put it away from the line, and we didn't do it," said Nets guard Jason Kidd, who missed two free throws and had 16 points and eight rebounds. "But we've been there before and we just kept playing."

The draining game featured 13 players with at least 10 points and 83 fouls, a record for a postseason game since the advent of the 24-second shot clock.

Billups was the only Pistons starter who did not foul out and just missed a triple-double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

"It's tough to lose a game like that, a game that long with that many lead changes and that kind of emotion," said Billups, who logged 55 minutes. "We've been down before and we just have to go out there Sunday and try to win and get back here."

Each team had chances to win in the first two overtimes. Billups missed a long jumper to close the first extra period and New Jersey's Kerry Kittles misfired on a jumper near the end of the second.