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Nets beat Pacers, pad playoff cushion

Mar 29, 2007 - 4:17 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- While the New Jersey Nets took another step towards the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers continued to slide backwards.

Josh Boone led six players in double figures with 22 points as the Nets handed the Pacers their 16th loss in the last 18 games, 118-94.

The 24-point final margin marked the most lopsided win of the season for New Jersey (33-38) and pushed the team into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of Orlando (33-39) and two games ahead of Indiana (31-40) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"Every game is important and tonight we took care of business from start to finish," nets guard Jason Kidd said. "We were relaxed before the game and went out there and stuck to the game plan and came with a lot of intensity. No matter what happens with Orlando and New York we have to take care of our own business."

Boone shot 11-of-13 from the floor and grabbed 10 rebounds and Bostjan Nachbar scored 20 points, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, for New Jersey, which had assists on 34 of its 40 buckets.

"It's just getting the opportunity and some things happen throughout the year," Boone said. "You never know when it's going to be your night. Last game, I kind of stepped in there and I wasn't really thinking that I was going to get a whole lot of time because I knew that they were going to go small. It ended up that I played over 24 minutes. It could be your night any night. It's just a matter of being ready every night."

The Nets opened a 51-29 lead with 3:31 remaining in the second quarter when Eddie House capped a 15-4 run with a four-point play. The Nets never looked back, extending the lead to 100-70 with 8:31 left in the game.

"Our undoing was the first half where we shot 24 percent and gave up 58 (points)," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "You're not going to beat a quality team doing that, especially on the road. We had to be a lot better, we weren't. The result is obvious."

Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson watched most of the fourth quarter from the bench, allowing reserves Boone, Nachbar and Marcus Williams a chance to shine for the Nets, who shot 55 percent (40-of-73) from the field. Williams dished out 11 assists.

"I thought the bench was tremendous and was able to give us a great lift," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Josh once again backed up his previous performance, and Marcus played an unbelievable floor game. His vision off pick-and-rolls is tremendous. And Boki (Nachbar) was another big lift. Indiana played last night and was shorthanded without their best player we took advantage of a team being shorthanded and that is encouraging."

"The bench has been huge with Josh and Boki (Nachbar)," Kidd said. "Josh has been a big help for us, and Boki has been Boki. When you have these guys, Josh and Boki, putting up these kinds of points, it's a big help."

Shawne Williams scored a career-high 19 points to lead the Pacers (31-40), who were without All-Star center Jermaine O'Neal due to a sore left knee.

"He tried it before the deadline for the active list and he was just too sore to go," Carlisle said. "It's tough. It's a big loss, especially with the way he'd been playing. He's been playing hurt the last two months, playing on one leg a lot during that time and it's a situation where if he's not right we can't play him."

Indiana shot just 34 percent (29-of-83) from the floor.

The win was the 149th of Frank's coaching career with the Nets, tying him with Byron Scott for the franchise record.

New Jersey guard Eddie House left the game with 2:04 remaining in the second quarter with an apparent concussion after being fouled by Pacers center David Harrison.

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