If someone told Nets coach Lawrence Frank he could have the Indiana Pacers' best player in foul trouble all afternoon and force the Pacers to rely on a reserve point guard, he probably would have signed on the dotted line. Yet Jermaine O'Neal scored when it counted and Anthony Johnson, a former Net, hit two free throws in the final second of a 90-88 win over New Jersey. The Pacers lead the four-of-seven series 1-0. Frank can take the good and the bad from this performance.
On one hand, the Nets could not open a lead with O'Neal in foul trouble. Vince Carter and Jason Kidd had awful shooting performances, and even the 22 points of Gothamist favorite Nenad Krstic couldn't make up for that. Carter scored 31, but he needed 33 field goal tries and made just one of eight three point attempts. Kidd shot just 2-11. On the other hand, even with the subpar performances from their two stars, the Nets almost squeaked away with a victory. Assuming each plays even slightly better in Game 2 Tuesday, the Nets should be in decent shape. If not, it'll be time to worry.