Nets
Cavaliers
83 - 72 Final
  for this game

Nets stay alive with win over Cavs

May 17, 2007 - 5:40 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets played three quarters of playoff basketball and it was enough to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kidd scored 20 points and the Nets stayed alive despite a dreadful fourth quarter with an 83-72 victory over the Cavaliers in Game Five of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Cavaliers, who were eliminated in the conference semifinals by the Detroit Pistons last season, lead the series, 3-2, with Game Six set for Friday in New Jersey.

"There is no excuse that I can throw at you. They just played better than us tonight and they deserved to win," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "With New Jersey's physical play in the post and their driving the ball to the rim and trying to finish, we just didn't react very well. Their pick-and-roll game, we didn't react well to that either."

The Nets have the daunting task of attempting to become the ninth team in NBA playoff history to erase a 3-1 deficit. New Jersey was in a similar situation in the 2006 playoffs, falling behind, 3-1, to the eventual champion Miami Heat before losing Game Five in Miami, 106-105.

The Nets fared better on Wednesday, jumping out to an early lead and making it stand despite hitting just one basket in the fourth quarter.

Vince Carter, who is having a rough series shooting the ball, hit a jumper from the right wing to give the Nets an 81-70 lead with 4:01 to play.

The Nets opened a 24-18 lead after the first quarter and led, 47-39, at the half. Bostjan Nachbar scored 11 points in the first half for New Jersey, which held a 20-6 advantage in bench points over the first two quarters.

With their playoff lives at stake, the Nets came out and played like a desperate team in the third quarter. New Jersey outscored Cleveland, 30-20, in the quarter to take a 77-59 lead.

"I thought our guys did a very good job of protecting our paint. When you do that, obviously, you have to live with some jumpers from the perimeter," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We were fortunate they missed some shots that by and large they can make, but sometimes you have to be a little bit lucky to win. We were fortunate."

Kidd had nine rebounds and six assists and hit a pair of big baskets in a 10-0 run in the third quarter. He capped the spurt with a 3-pointer and a jumper to give New Jersey a 59-41 lead with 8:31 left in the third.

The fourth quarter was about as ugly a quarter of playoff basketball as you will ever see. The Nets held on despite shooting 1-of-15 from the field and 4-of-10 from the free-throw line, including five misses by Kidd in the final minute.

"The fourth quarter wasn't pretty. We relied on our defense," Kidd said. "Neither team played a great fourth quarter."

Cleveland was almost as bad, shooting 3-of-17 in the final quarter. The teams combined to shoot 0-of-17 from the field in the first 6:57 of the fourth quarter.

"This is one of the first games in a long time that we've played this type of basketball. It happens," Cavs superstar LeBron James said. "We don't want it to happen and it's sad that it happened at this point in time."

Richard Jefferson scored 15 points, Mikki Moore 14 and Carter added 12 for New Jersey.

James scored 20 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 15 for Cleveland.

James left the game with 56 seconds to go after crashing into the Cavaliers' bench while battling Kidd for a loose ball.

With a chance to close out the series at home, the Cavaliers came out flat and never recovered. They shot 33 percent (24-of-72) from the field and just had too many players with off nights.

"We all have to step up and knock down shots," James said. "That would help take away some of the double-teams and triple-teams, especially when I'm in the middle of the floor or in the post. But we can't win shooting 33 percent from the floor."

James was 5-of-14 from the field and that was far from the worst shooting night by a Cavalier. Drew Gooden was 2-of-7, Donyell Marshall came off the bench and missed all seven shots he took and Larry Hughes was 3-of-17 from field.

"That's what you call a terrible night. I gave the team nothing," Hughes said. "We didn't bring what we needed to win the game and it showed on the court."








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