Nets stay alive despite six points in final quarter
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Jason Kidd scored 20 points, grabbed nine
rebounds and dished out six assists, as the New Jersey Nets, despite six
fourth-quarter points, staved off elimination and defeated the Cleveland
Cavaliers, 83-72, in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at
Quicken Loans Arena.
Richard Jefferson added 15 points, Mikki Moore had 14 and Bostjan Nachbar
tallied 13 for the Nets. Vince Carter recorded 12 points, a career-playoff
high 10 assists and six boards for New Jersey, which will try to even this
series at home in Game 6 on Friday.
“Sometimes you have to get a little lucky to win,” said New Jersey head coach
Lawrence Frank. “We were fortunate we played hard. That fourth quarter we were
holding on for dear life, but our guys gave a very, very good effort and it’s
good to get back into the series.”
LeBron James had 20 points and nine boards for Cleveland, which trailed by as
many as 22 points in the third quarter. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16 points for
the Cavs, who also struggled in the final quarter, scoring just 13 points.
Leading 47-39 at halftime, the Nets used a 17-6 run to open the third quarter
to take a 19-point lead. Jefferson scored seven points during the surge,
capping it with a three-pointer at the 6:38 mark for a 64-45 cushion.
The lead later ballooned to 22 points, 70-48, when Carter drained a runner
with 3:13 left and New Jersey eventually cruised into the fourth with a 77-59
“We needed all those 30 points in the third quarter,” said Frank. “But every
one who played, played well and that’s what it’s going to take.”
The Nets, though, left it in cruise control in the fourth when they should
have kept it in gear. New Jersey didn’t hit a shot from the floor in the
fourth quarter until Carter drained an 11-foot jumper with 4:06 left and
during that time the Cavs cut their deficit to just nine points.
Larry Hughes’ three-pointer with 4:32 left capped an 11-2 run since the
beginning of the quarter, drawing Cleveland within 79-70.
The Cavs, though, wouldn’t get any closer, as they too had trouble connecting
from the floor.
Although the Nets hit just 1-of-15 shots from the field and scored a playoff
franchise-low six fourth-quarter points, Cleveland hit only three fourth-
quarter shots and didn’t hit any after James’ lay-up with 2:16 left.
“Both teams were on fire defensively, just not on the offensive side,” said
Kidd of the fourth quarter.
James later limped into the locker room with under a minute to play with a cut
knee. He suffered a right knee contusion with a superficial laceration, but is
currently cleared to play in Friday’s game.
Hughes ended with just seven points, hitting 3-of-17 shots for the Cavs, who
trailed 24-18 after one quarter.
The 19 combined fourth-quarter points were the fewest in any quarter for a
playoff game in the shot-clock era…The six points in the fourth for NJ were
the fewest for a winning team…NJ shot 47.8 percent from the field for the
game, compared to 33.3 percent for Cleveland…The Nets won despite hitting
just 9-of-20 free throws while the Cavs hit 20-of-29…Eight points was the
fewest allowed the Cavs in a quarter during the playoffs, also coming against
the Nets in 1993…Carter recorded his ninth career playoff double-
double…Cleveland’s Sasha Pavlovic suffered a right wrist contusion in the
second quarter. Preliminary x-rays were negative. Pavlovic will be
reevaluated Thursday and he is listed as day-to-day.