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New Jersey goes up 3-1 in first-round series against Toronto

Associated Press • Apr 30, 2007 at 12:27 PM

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New Jersey Nets made quick work of the Raptors again.

Now they head back to Toronto looking to put a quick end to the first-round series.

Vince Carter scored 27 points, Richard Jefferson added 23, and the Nets took a 3-1 lead over the Atlantic Division champions Sunday night with a 102-81 victory - their second biggest ever in a playoff game.

Jason Kidd added 17 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for New Jersey, which can advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a victory in Game 5 on Tuesday night. If the Raptors win that one, Game 6 would be back in New Jersey on Friday.

Toronto's first postseason since 2002 is shaping up as a short one. Teams taking 3-1 leads in series have won 158 and lost only eight.

Andrea Bargnani scored 16 points for the Raptors, who led for all of 15 seconds in the two games at the Meadowlands. Toronto has lost eight straight road playoff games since beating Philadelphia on May 6, 2001, in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Kidd, who missed practice on the eve of Game 3 with a sore knee that Raptors coach Sam Mitchell doesn't seem to believe he had, sat the entire fourth quarter. That's probably all that prevented him from a second straight triple-double, leaving him with 10 in the postseason, tied with Larry Bird for second on the career list.

New Jersey made a franchise playoff-record 14 3-pointers Sunday.

The first round in the East is shaping up as a brief one. Detroit and Chicago both swept their series, and Cleveland is up 3-0 on Washington in the other.

New Jersey, which rolled into the postseason with 10 wins in its past 13 games, is doing its part to keep up. The Nets led by 17 after one. They were up by 21 in the second before the Raptors closed to 47-36 on Bargnani's jumper with 3:47 remaining. Kidd answered with consecutive 3s, pushing the lead back to 17, and the Nets were ahead 56-37 at the half.

Jefferson ensured there would be no comeback, scoring 16 points in the third. The Nets shot 65 percent in the quarter and opened an 86-56 bulge after three. Chris Bosh had 13 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 5-of-12 in another shaky game at Continental Airlines Arena. He came in averaging 12.3 points and making 34 percent of his shots in Toronto's first three games here, all losses.

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