New Jersey wins series 4-2 (Game 5 of 6)

New Jersey wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, April 23rd
Game 2: Tuesday, April 25th
Game 3: Thursday, April 27th
Game 4: Saturday, April 29th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 2nd
Game 6: Thursday, May 4th

Pacers 86

(41-41, 14-27 away)

Nets 92

(49-33, 29-12 home)

7:00 PM ET, May 2, 2006

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
IND 25 21 19 2186
NJ 28 21 23 2092

Top Performers

Indiana: D. Granger 9 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

New Jersey: V. Carter 34 Pts, 15 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Carter's dominant performance lifts Nets to 3-2 series lead

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Nets got great performances from all three stars, including a spectacular last-minute, left-handed dunk by Vince Carter with the game on the line.

All that, and New Jersey still barely managed to beat Indiana on Tuesday night, pushing the Pacers to the brink of playoff elimination.

Carter had 34 points, 15 rebounds and a game-clinching, high-flying slam with 28 seconds to play as the Nets beat the Pacers 92-86 to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series.

While he hit 13 of 24 shots, Carter's dunk over Pacers rookie Danny Granger is what had everyone talking after the Nets' second straight win in the series.

"It's not so much the type of shot he hit, but the importance of the shot," said Nets forward Richard Jefferson, who scored 24 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 1:22 to go to give New Jersey an 87-81 lead.

"Vince has hit some of the craziest shots in the history of this league," Jefferson added. "But the importance of that shot is what I am most proud of for him."

Carter insisted all he was trying to do was put the ball in the basket with New Jersey clinging to an 89-86 lead.

"A big basket was needed," Carter said. "If we don't make it, it would give them the opportunity to tie or cut it to one. I just wanted to be patient and take what I could get."

Carter got a step on Granger and brought down the house at the Continental Airlines Arena and the Pacers all in one high-flying swoop.

"That was one of the many plays he made," Granger said. "He hit a jumper at the top of the key (with 51 seconds to go) and Richard hit the big 3. But he made a great play. It happens."

Jason Kidd set a Nets' postseason record with 15 assists.

Game 6 will be played in Indianapolis on Thursday. If a deciding Game 7 is necessary, it will be played here on Saturday.

An ailing Jermaine O'Neal scored 19 points and Anthony Johnson added 14 for the Pacers, who had five players score in double figures.

"We did a pretty good job of battling back," Johnson said. "This team has been resilient all year long and we will continue to fight and play hard no matter who we have. We gave great effort but morale victories don't help you as far as putting points on the board. We came out on the short end and now our backs are against the wall."

While the Pacers showed a tremendous amount of grit and determination in hanging around in Game 5, they need to get healthy in a hurry if they want to survive.

Forward Peja Stojakovic missed his second straight game and third in the series with a knee injury. That was expected. What wasn't was the absence of starting center Jeff Foster, who sat out with a back problem.

That left O'Neal, Stephen Jackson (13 points) and Johnson to carry the load, and they couldn't do it, combining to shot 19-for-49 from the field.

Despite the shooting woes, Indiana still managed to tie the game at 72 early in the fourth quarter.

The game-tying basket in a game in which the Pacers never led came on a fast-break layup by Fred Jones with 10:41 to play.

The Nets called timeout and turned to Carter. The All-Star guard hit a jumper in the lane to put them ahead by two and Lamond Murray followed about two minutes later with a 3-pointer -- his only basket of the game -- to push the lead to 77-72.

A three-point play by Jefferson pushed the lead to 84-77, but the Pacers still wouldn't go away. Three times in the final 1:41 the Pacers closed their deficit to three points, the last time at 89-86 with 50 seconds to go on two free throws by Jones.

With the game on the line on the Nets' next possession, Carter drove the left side of the lane, elevated and slammed the Pacers.

Indiana never scored again.

The Nets had chances to blow open the game, taking leads of 11 points in the second quarter and 10 in the third, but the Pacers never gave up.

Game notes

Kidd shared the Nets' old playoff assist record with Micheal Ray Richardson. ... The last time the Nets and Pacers met in a Game 5, Indiana great Reggie Miller banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime in what was then a first-round series decider. New Jersey won in overtime en route to reaching the NBA Finals in 2002. ... Celebrities in attendance included actor Ethan Hawke, singer Jay-Z and Beyonce and Portland guard Sebastian Telfair.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 86 92
FGM-FGA 34-81 (.420) 36-78 (.462)
3PM-3PA 7-25 (.280) 4-16 (.250)
FTM-FTA 11-17 (.647) 16-20 (.800)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-37 10-50
Assists 19 32
Turnovers 11 16
Steals 11 4
Blocks 8 6
Fast Break Points 13 25
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 24 (0/0)
Largest Lead 2 11

Top Performers

New Jersey
Danny Granger Granger
Points: 9
Reb: 12
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 2
Vince Carter Carter
Points: 34
Reb: 15
Ast: 7
Stl: 2
Blk: 1