For the Nets, no player can make a bigger impact than Vince Carter. He scored 34 points (including an acrobatic game-clinching dunk with 28 seconds to play) in the Nets' 92-86 win over Indiana. New Jersey leads the series three games to two, and Carter has been the reason they have won all three games. As much as head coach Lawrence Frank loves to talk about how important the Nets' defense is, without a dominant postseason from Carter, the Nets will not make it far. Carter's point totals have been high all series, but he shot 12 of 33 and eight of 21 in the Nets' two losses.
Now New Jersey must close it out. If they advance, they would play either Miami or Chicago, and the Heat lead that series 3-2. If either team advances after six games and another must face a game seven at home, the early-series advantage could swing to the team that took care of business sooner. Finishing off this series is far from a formality, and the Nets would help themselves by not letting Indiana off the mat. Game six is Thursday.
Photo by Matt Krautheim on Flickr