<
>

Reserve Boone helps Nets keep edge over Pacers

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rookie Josh Boone again provided the New Jersey Nets a late-season lift in their push to nail down a playoff berth.

Boone scored a career-high 22 points Wednesday night to lead the Nets to a 118-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Boone came off the bench to hit 11 of 13 from the field. He also pulled down 10 rebounds in his second strong game. Boone was perfect on all 10 shots from the field in the Nets' 113-107 overtime win in Charlotte on Saturday.

"It's great to be able to come out and contribute," Boone said. "I've been working really hard in practice and waiting for my shot. Recently, I've been getting it and I've been trying to make the best of my time."

Bostjan Nachbar added 20 points before fouling out with 3 minutes remaining. Richard Jefferson had 14 points, Vince Carter scored 13, and Mikki Moore and Jason Kidd each had 12 as the Nets had six players in double figures.

With the win, the Nets moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of Orlando and two games ahead of the Pacers and Knicks.

"Indiana played last night and was short-handed without their best player," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We took advantage of a team being short-handed and that is encouraging."

Jermaine O'Neal, the Pacers' leading scorer, sat out the game with left ankle and knee sprains. Indiana could not overcome his loss, although Troy Murphy, who started in O'Neal's spot, had 13 points and 14 rebounds.

O'Neal was averaging 20 points per game and had scored 39 and 32 points in his last two games.

Shawne Williams led Indiana with 19 points. Mike Dunleavy added 14, Danny Granger and Darrell Armstrong each had 11, and Jamaal Tinsley had 10.

The win was the second straight for New Jersey and its third in three games with the Pacers this year.

Indiana has lost 16 of its last 18 games and 10 straight on the road.

Carter hit a 3-pointer 2:29 into the game to give New Jersey a 9-6 lead. The Nets never trailed the rest of the way.

New Jersey expanded that lead to 32-21 after one as Carter set the pace with nine points.

The Nets lead by as many as 22 in the second quarter and took a 60-43 lead into the locker room at the half. Boone was 5-for-7 in the first half for 10 points to share the Nets' halftime scoring lead with Jefferson.

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

The Nets outscored the Pacers 31-23 in the third quarter as Kidd came alive with eight points after scoring only four in the first half.

Kidd sat out the fourth quarter and Carter played only 2 minutes as the Nets reserves held the Pacers at bay.

Game notes
Frank tied Byron Scott for most wins (149) as a Nets coach. ... Jeff Foster was called for a flagrant foul when he clotheslined Nachbar with 42.7 seconds left in the first quarter. ... Nets guard Eddie House left the court limping and clutching his left hip after a hard foul by David Harrison. The Nets medical report said House suffered a possible concussion. ... The Nets enjoyed their biggest margin of victory of the season.