Nets 94, Sixers 87
It was the classic tortoise vs hare scenario.
The young, upstart Sixers began the game by using energy and athleticism to build an early lead. Despite drawing 10 first quarter fouls - causing Sixers coach Brett Brown to use all 11 active players - the Nets trailed 29-27 at the end of the period. Philadelphia continued to use flash in the second quarter, as they produced several highlight plays capped off by a Nerlens Noel block that lead to a Robert Covington dunk on the other end (from a Jason Richardson off-the-backboard pass nonetheless). As a result of sloppy defense and poor shooting, the Nets trailed 56-51 going into the half.
But as the old fable indicates, slow and steady wins the race. The Nets held steady and never deviated from what they do well. They were able to slow the pace down in the second half and tighten up on the defensive end. The Sixers certainly missed their fair share of open looks, but holding any NBA team to 10 points in a quarter is an accomplishment. And that is exactly what the Nets did as they used a 23-10 advantage in the third period to build up a lead that they never relinquished; ultimately winning the game 94-87.
Thaddeus Young stood out as a key performer tonight as he tallied 21 points on an array of crafty runners and flip-shots while also bringing down 9 rebounds. (Stay tuned here to Brooklyn’s finest as Paul Mitchell has a Thad-centric post that will hit the site tomorrow.) Jarrett Jack was also a strong contributor off the bench, as he chipped in 12 points and 8 assists.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
1. The win tonight brings the Nets’ record to 26-38. They now sit 3 games behind Charlotte for the eighth seed and 3.5 games behind Indiana for the seventh seed.
2. The Nets have two remaining games against the Pacers and one against the Hornets. It’s fair to say that these will he must-win games.
3. While the stats don’t necessarily reflect it, Deron Williams was huge for the Nets tonight. He was just plain steady in his 26 minutes tonight, always seeming to be in control.
4. If Brooklyn will have any chance to make the playoffs, D-Will must continue to be that type of floor general for the last 18 games.
5. Almost-Net Thomas Robinson showed why the Nets’ reported singing of him would have been a coup. He was relentless on the boards, as he pulled down 12 rebounds to go with 7 points in just 17 minutes for the Sixers.
6. It really is disappointing that Sam Hinkie stole T-Rob from the Nets’ grasps, as he is just the type of potential-laden athlete that the Nets are desperate for.
7. Markel-sanity continues to die down. He receives the Alan Anderson award tonight, given to a Net that plays 20+ minutes but goes largely unnoticed. He had just 2 points and was rather tentative on both ends of the floor.
8. Speaking of going unnoticed, it was another rough outing for Bojan Bogdanovic. Tabbed as a dark-horse Rookie-of-the-year candidate coming into the season, Bojan has consistently struggled. He shows occasional flashes, but has a lot to improve on going into his sophomore campaign. Here’s hoping he can do that.
9. Am I wrong to say that the Nets have the league’s craftiest front court? They are far from the most talented or most athletic trio, but Joe Johnson, Thad Young and Brook Lopez all seem to have a true knack for hitting tough in-between type shots around the basket.
10. The Nets reconvene on Monday in Minnesota. Can they take care of business on the road against another of the NBA’s bottom feeders?