NBA Game Summary - Toronto at New Jersey
(Saturday, April 5th)
Final Score: New Jersey 99, Toronto 90
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Vince Carter finished with 32 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, as the New Jersey Nets defeated Toronto, 99-90, to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Richard Jefferson scored 28 for the Nets, who remained four games behind Atlanta for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks beat the 76ers in Philadelphia on Saturday.
"We're not mathematically out," Carter, who played with a sprained right ankle, said. "Maybe we're counted out. It doesn't mean we can't come out and play hard."
Rasho Nesterovic finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Raptors, who had already clinched a spot in the postseason, but failed to pick up ground in the East. Both Philadelphia and Cleveland were ahead of Toronto, and lost on Saturday. But the Raptors remained in seventh, one game back of Philadelphia for sixth.
Atlanta, the eighth seed, moved to within two games of the Raptors. Chris Bosh scored 18, grabbed 10 boards, and had six assists for Toronto, which has lost three in a row and four of five.
"We're all frustrated," Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell said.
The Nets, who were tied with the Raptors moments into the fourth quarter, broke open the game with a 15-4 run that ate up almost six minutes. Carter was the driving force; he ignited the surge with a layup and two free throws, had consecutive jumpers in the middle, and ended it with another layup to give New Jersey a 91-80 advantage with 6:14 remaining.
It proved to be a knockout punch for the Raptors, who never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
A six-point run in the first quarter put New Jersey up early on. Carter had the first four points, and a Jefferson layup put the Nets ahead 20-12 just past the midway point of the stanza.
The Nets maintained the edge, and led 33-26 heading into the second quarter.
The Raptors rebounded a bit, and drew within 35-32 on a Jason Kapono layup with a little more than 9 1/2 minutes left until halftime. Toronto stayed close, and actually cut the Nets' lead to just two on a Bosh free throw, putting the score at 48-46.
But Jefferson responded with a three-pointer and layup, back-to-back, and New Jersey led 56-48 at the break.
Toronto, though, used an 11-4 stretch at the beginning of the third quarter to draw even. Anthony Parker had five points, and a pair of T.J. Ford free throws sliced New Jersey's lead to 60-59, just short of four minutes in.
The game was close for the rest of the stanza, and Parker made a jumper to begin the fourth quarter, tying the game at 76.
Ford finished with 13 points, and Parker 11; Jamario Moon also had 13 points for the Raptors...Nesterovic has had 14 consecutive double-digit scoring games...New Jersey shot 47.5 percent from the floor, including an 8-of-21 mark from three-point range...Toronto had a 42 percent shooting mark, but was just 3-of-22 from beyond the arc.
04/05 23:29:19 ET