INDIANAPOLIS -- Vince Carter is healthy again, and so is his scoring average.
Back at full strength after a bout with the flu, Carter scored 28 points and Clifford Robinson, the oldest player in the NBA, added a season-high 14 to lead the New Jersey Nets over the Indiana Pacers 100-91 Friday night.
"This is a big victory for us, mentally," Carter said. "I think we've been up and down a little bit, winning one, losing one, so it's big for us to come out and put together two wins in a row."
A weakened Carter, fourth in the league in scoring, had a season-low 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting in a victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday. He nearly matched that with 13 points in just the first quarter against the Pacers.
"I'm fine," he said. "It was just one of those little 24-hour bugs that you go through."
Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal, in foul trouble and scoreless in the first half, had 13 points in the third quarter as the Pacers came from 14 points down to take a 75-71 lead early in the final period.
Two free throws by rookie Marcus Williams and a 3-pointer by Robinson put the Nets back in the lead. After two more ties, Bostjan Nachbar got a dunk off an assist by Jason Kidd, was fouled by O'Neal and hit the free throw for an 82-79 lead.
Baskets by Carter and Nenad Krstic pushed the Nets' lead to 94-89 with under two minutes to go and the Pacers never recovered.
"It was a classic example of bending but not breaking," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Indiana made a furious run in that third quarter, but we were able to take their hit, maintain our poise and find a way to win.
"Vince is our closer, and he brings it home for us."
Krstic finished with 18 points and Kidd had 17. The 14 by the 39-year-old Robinson topped his previous season high of 12 against Milwaukee on Wednesday.
"We're just looking for consistency," Robinson said. "To come in and get this win, it feels good."
Marquis Daniels added 14 points and gave the Pacers got a big lift off the bench after O'Neal and Harrington left with their third fouls early in the second quarter.
"We had some good stretches, but we got off to another terrible start. It's something you can't do in this league, especially at home," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We got some good energy off the bench. ... We got the lead back, but Jersey's a good team. They're damn talented. They made more plays than we did."
A flurry of 3-pointers, including two by Carter and one by Robinson, helped New Jersey to a 39-25 lead five minutes into the second period. But Daniels, who broke out of a slump with a season-high 15 points in a loss at Boston on Wednesday, hit a 3-pointer, a fast-break layup and free throw in less than a minute.
After Krstic made one of two free throws, Tinsley scored and Daniels stole the ball and fed Stephen Jackson for another basket to complete Indiana's 10-1 run.
The teams traded baskets until the closing minutes of the half. Krstic scored the Nets' final seven points, though, including a basket and free throw with 41 seconds left to give New Jersey a 51-41 lead at the break.
O'Neal got his first two baskets early in the third quarter and three in a row midway through the period to bring Indiana within 60-55.
Darrell Armstrong and Danny Granger hit 3-pointers late in the period to make it 71-70, then another 3-pointer by Granger at the start of the fourth quarter gave the Pacers their first lead since 4-2 in the opening minutes.
"We've got some guys that are struggling and we're struggling as a team," Carlisle said. "We've got to fight through it. We knew the beginning of the season was going to be a challenging stretch. But we're not getting any sympathy from other teams. This is what you go through."
|New Jersey's Vince Carter scores 28 points with seven rebounds and three assists to help beat Indy. (AP)|
|New Jersey (5-3) «||26||25||20||29||100|
|NJ:V. Carter 28 Pts
NJ:J. Kidd 9 Reb
NJ:J. Kidd 6 Ast
|IND:A. Harrington 18 Pts
IND:J. Foster 11 Reb
IND:J. Tinsley 6 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|V. Carter, SG||40||10-22||6-7||7||3||2||28|
|J. Kidd, PG||39||6-14||4-4||9||6||1||17|
|N. Krstic, C||34||7-18||4-5||7||3||1||18|
|J. Collins, C||29||2-3||3-5||6||2||3||7|
|A. Wright, SG||16||1-4||0-0||3||0||3||2|
|B. Nachbar, SF||30||3-5||1-1||3||1||3||8|
|C. Robinson, PF||29||5-6||2-2||1||3||3||14|
|M. Williams, PG||19||0-3||6-6||4||2||1||6|
|M. Moore, C||4||0-0||0-0||2||0||2||0|
|J. McInnis, PG||Did Not Play|
|E. House, PG||Did Not Play|
|R. Jefferson, SF||Did Not Play|
|M. Ilic, C||Did Not Play|
|H. Adams, SG||Did Not Play|
|J. Boone, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|J. Tinsley, PG||39||8-15||0-0||5||6||3||16|
|D. Granger, SF||39||5-13||0-1||4||3||5||12|
|J. O'Neal, PF||34||7-16||3-5||9||3||4||17|
|A. Harrington, C||25||7-13||2-2||4||0||5||18|
|S. Jackson, SG||25||3-11||1-4||2||4||3||7|
|M. Daniels, SG||33||5-10||3-3||7||3||0||14|
|J. Foster, C||29||2-4||0-0||11||0||0||4|
|D. Armstrong, PG||7||1-2||0-0||0||2||2||3|
|M. Baston, PF||5||0-0||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|S. Jasikevicius, PG||3||0-3||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|R. Marshall, SF||1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|D. Harrison, C||Did Not Play|
|J. Powell, PF||Did Not Play|
|O. Greene, PG||Did Not Play|
|S. Williams, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|