Nets grab sixth seed by beating Bulls
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Vince Carter scored 24 points, grabbed
10 rebounds and dished out nine assists, as New Jersey captured the sixth seed
in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 106-97 victory over Chicago at
Continental Airlines Arena.
“We wanted to win the game,” Carter said. “They [the Bulls] embarassed us the
last time we played. We didn’t compete then, so we wanted to go out and play
Nets’ Basketball tonight.”
Mikki Moore added 22 points and Richard Jefferson had 21 for the Nets (41-41),
who finished the season winning four straight and eight of their last 10
games. They will face the Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors in the
Bostjan Nachbar and Josh Boone each donated 15 points off the bench for New
Jersey, which has won 11 straight and 14 of its last 15 against Chicago at
Kirk Hinrich posted 20 points with nine assists and Andres Nocioni chipped in
19 for the Bulls (49-33), who dropped to the fifth seed in the East as
Cleveland beat Milwaukee on the final night of the regular season. Luol Deng
recorded 15 points and 11 boards, while Ben Gordon also had 15 in defeat, as
the Bulls finished a game behind the Cavaliers.
“We had so many busted coverages,” Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. “We just
weren’t sharp. The Nets had guys run right by us as we were standing there
Chicago will meet the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in the first round,
but will have home-court advantage for the series by virtue of a better
New Jersey went on a 17-2 burst — capped by Carter’s three-pointer — for a
25-10 lead late in the first quarter. Leading 31-22, the Nets held a double-
digit advantage throughout the second and Jefferson’s two free throws made it
a 52-40 game at halftime.
It was all Chicago in the third quarter, though, as it posted 30 points to cut
within one, 71-70.
Deng’s three-point play kept it at a one-point game, 74-73, early on, but the
Nets went on a 10-4 spurt — led by Boone’s seven points — for an 84-77 edge
with 6:22 to play.
Kidd then drilled a trey to extend New Jersey’s lead to 94-81, while the Bulls
were unable to make a run in the final minutes.
The Nets won the season series 3-1 and have been victorious in 11 of the last
14 encounters…New Jersey finished 45.6 percent from the field…Chicago shot
42.2 percent from the floor.