EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 2 (Ticker) -- For the second consecutive game, Vince Carter carried the New Jersey Nets to a crucial victory.

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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Richard Jefferson 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 Game Six.

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 outings.

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 Game 6."

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 left.

"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 (O'Neal)."

"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 opening minutes.

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 ensuing possession.

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 added 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 step up."

"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."