New Jersey getting closer to eighth seed

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jason Kidd swore he never even glanced at the
out-of-town scoreboard, while Vince Carter claimed to be completely
ignorant of where the New Jersey Nets stood in the Eastern
Conference standings.

The truthfulness of those statements may seem questionable, but
there was no doubt afterward where the Nets stand -- a half-game out
of eighth place in the conference, the cutoff point for a
postseason berth.

Getting 31 points from Carter and winning for the eighth time in
10 games, New Jersey passed Orlando in the standings and moved a
game closer to Philadelphia with a 93-91 victory over the New York
Knicks on Friday night.

Both the 76ers and Magic lost, and those final scores were
posted on the out-of-town scoreboard by the time this game entered
the fourth quarter.

"I didn't have time to (look at the Magic and 76ers scores),"
Kidd said. "I was too busy trying to get my 3-pointers off. I was
being a two-guard tonight."

Carter reached 30 points for the 19th time in 48 games since New
Jersey acquired him from Toronto, Kidd added 18 points, eight
rebounds and four assists, and Clifford Robinson contributed 12
points and a hand in the face of Tim Thomas that altered his
potential game-winning 3-pointer just before the final buzzer.

The Nets will play the Magic on Saturday night and have one game
remaining against Philadelphia on April 17.

So despite an offseason roster overhaul, a season-ending injury
to Richard Jefferson and a blockbuster trade, New Jersey is on the
cusp of getting to the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.

"All I know is that coach said we won, and two teams we needed
to lose lost," Carter said.

Stephon Marbury led New York with 26 points, and Jamal Crawford
had 23.

The Knicks had a chance to win, but Thomas' straightaway
3-pointer was way long, hitting above the box on the backboard and
ricocheting hard off the rim as time expired. Thomas finished
2-for-12 as the Knicks lost their fifth in a row.

"If I don't contest that, he's got time to sit there and tee
that up and maybe knock that down," Robinson said. "He had to
shoot it high. You could see how high it came off the backboard."

Robinson's 3-pointer put the Nets up 78-75 with 7:48 left, and
New Jersey remained ahead the rest of the way.

Carter hit a huge 3-pointer from 26 feet away as the shot clock
was expiring with 2:43 left for an 89-85 lead, and Kidd's layup off
a turnover by Marbury made it 93-87 with 1:20 left. A pair of foul
shots by Marbury, a missed 3-pointer by Jacque Vaughn and a putback
by Kurt Thomas cut the Nets' lead to 93-91 with 30.1 seconds left.

New Jersey used up the entire shot clock before taking its next
attempt, and Nenad Krstic was called for basket interference for
tipping Carter's shot as it was still bouncing on the rim. That
gave the Knicks 5.1 seconds to go for the tie or the win.

They chose the latter, but Thomas couldn't convert.

"We've been in so many close games and let them slip away. I
don't even know how many it is now," Thomas said. "It could have
been a season changed if we could have won a couple of those. Luck
is not on our side, I guess."

Marbury stole the ball and banked in a 40-footer to end the
first quarter, completing a 14-2 run and giving the Knicks a 23-18
lead. New Jersey came back and led 43-42 at halftime, and Carter
had 13 points in the third quarter as the game stayed close, the
Nets trailing 66-65 entering the final period.

Game notes
New Jersey has won 18 of the past 21 meeting between the
clubs, including last year's playoffs. ... New Jersey went just
15-for-25 at the foul line. Krstic was 0-for 3, and Kidd was