On Sunday afternoon, the Nets defeated the Philadelphia 76ers by a final score of 95-92.
The Skinny: The Nets opened up the game pretty slowly, making just 2 of their first 11 shots. All five Sixers scored within the game’s first seven minutes and enabled the team to race out to a 12-4 lead. Avery Johnson then called his first timeout and the Nets immediately responded. The Nets would go on an 18-0 over the game’s next 4:25 and open up a 22-12 lead. Nick Young broke the scoreless streak for the Sixers, but they led 24-17 after the first after closing out the quarter on a 20-5 run.
Avery Johnson opened up the second quarter with five reserves—C.J. Watson, Toko Shengelia, Jerry Stackhouse, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche. But even after he reinserted his starters, the Nets struggled to contain Evan Turner, who scored eight points in the quarter. After shooting 8-27 (.296) in the first quarter, the Sixers shot 10-for-21 in the second and closed the gap to 43-41 at the half.
The Nets opened up the second half operating out a half court sets and the Sixers kept the Sixers at bay by making fifve of their first seven shots over the first half of the quarter. The Sixers shot 8-for-14, though, and managed to keep the game within a basket, 57-59. In the period, Jrue Holiday (six points) and Thaddeus Young (eight points) carried the Sixers and helped to match Gerald Wallace’s nine points. Joe Johnson came alive late in the quarter, scoring eight points in the final two minutes. That includes two deep three point bombs that helped the Nets carry a 69-64 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Sixers managed to tie the game early in the fourth, but failed to take the lead on three consecutive possessions. They would make just two out of their next eight shots and turn the ball over three times. The Nets took advantage behind baskets from Jerry Stackhouse, Andray Blatche and Keith Bogans and opened up a six point lead, 81-75. A Deron Williams layup with 50 seconds to go gave the Nets a 91-83 lead. Some late threes by the Sixers and a few missed free throws by the Nets saw the Sixers close the gap to 92-90 with less than 10 seconds remaining, but Williams and Johnson connected on a few free-throws down the stretch and a full court heave by Evan Turner at the buzzer never had a chance. The Nets were able to hold on in a fourth quarter that wasn’t as competitive as the final box score indicates, though they did give the Sixers opportunities to keep the game closer than it should have been.
High Scorers: Joe Johnson scored 22 points for the Nets, shooting 8-for-17. Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace each chipped in 14 points. For the Sixers, although it occurred in a losing effort, Jrue Holiday turned in a good game, scoring 24 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out a game-high nine assists.
Key Stats: The Sixers led 12-4 after the first six minutes of the game and the Nets responded with an 18-0 run. After taking a 13-12 lead with 3:54 to go in the first, the Nets led the rest of the way, even though the Sixers cut the lead to a single possessions a few times. Each team ended the game with just nine turnovers.
Who Was Hot: Andray Blatche scored 10 points off of the bench for the Nets and make some very good defensive plays down the stretch. He also had a one handed dunk off the dribble early in the fourth and helped the Nets win the fourth quarter. Thaddeus Young had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Sixers.
Who Was Not: For the Nets, Jerry Stackhouse was just 2-for-8 in 13 minutes. He shot 0-for-5 from behind the three point line. Deron Williams played tentatively all game long, but scored points down the stretch and ended up with a respectable stat line of 16 points (5-for-11 shooting), six rebounds and five assists. For the Sixers, Jason Richardson and Spencer Hawes were a combined 4-for-19 and scored just 10 total points for Doug Collins’ team.
Fun Fact: With the win, the the Nets snap their three game losing streak as well as a six game home losing streak to the 76ers. The last time the Nets beat the Sixers at home was April 5, 2009.
Moke Hamilton, NBA AnalystThe struggling Nets needed a win in the worst way and they got it this afternoon. Deron Williams didn’t have a “terrible” game, but of all of the Nets starters, he looked the most uncomfortable. It’s amazing that he still managed to turn in a strong effort. Once this team gets back to firing on all cylinders, they should find themselves pulling out their fair share of close games.
Now, at 14-12, the Nets have a Christmas Day showdown with the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. After beating the Sixers, the Nets don’t need to be concerned with falling below .500 if they’re unable to win that tough game. It should be quite entertaining, though.
Kris Humphries didn’t play a single minute against the Sixers and that fact will only fuel speculation regarding his future with the Nets. Humphries’ struggles have been well documented.