Consistent when it counted, the Nets ended the suspense in their first round series with Thursday's 96-90 win in Indiana. After sleepwalking through the first three games and trailing 2-1, New Jersey won the next three and will face Miami in the conference semifinals. Thursday's hero wasn't Vince Carter, whom Gothamist has toted as the key to the Nets' fate, but Richard Jefferson, who scored 30 points on 10-13 shooting.
Needing six games to advance doesn't necessarily portend bad things in the Nets' future. After struggling the way they did in games one and three, they should be happy to advance. Jermaine O'Neal couldn't get his feet wet, and if not for Anthony Johnson's heroics (40 points in game 6, among other performances), the Nets might have advanced easily. Gothamist is worried about the looming Heat, but they hardly looked invincible in their series against Chicago. One thing's for sure: they won't be able to take two games off and win that series.