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Here’s a roundup of last night’s Nets festivities.
What happened: The Nets staved off a near-collapse, winning 105-101 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Where they stand: At 42-34, the Nets pull to within two games of the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead, with six games left to play. But since the Raptors hold the tiebreaker over the Nets, Brooklyn would have to out-play them by three games to win the division. The Raptors have a cakewalk schedule, making that a near-impossibility.
The Nets weren’t helped by the Washington Wizards, who let the Chicago Bulls blow them out 96-78 at home. That keeps the Bulls 2.5 games ahead of the Nets with six to play and the tiebreak, all but ensuring the Nets won’t finish ahead of them.
That Was… Way, way too long. How does a playoff team let arguably the worst team in the NBA cut a 21-point deficit to one? ONE?
The Nets hit their first eight shots, but that didn’t put away the 17-60 76ers, who fired away from three-point range with reckless abandon and stayed in the game for the first 12 minutes. For a while, talent just took over: the Nets got points going towards the basket, defended the porous 76ers well enough to bother their D-League talent into missed shots, and cruised through until about 4:30 left in the third quarter: for some reason, Brooklyn’s interior defense just fell apart, the Nets missed some easy buckets, and their lead evaporated against a team that’s all but trying to lose.
Game Grades: Read ’em here.
KG BACK: Kevin Garnett returned to the starting lineup after missing 19 games, hitting his first four shots, affecting the game on the defensive end, and yelling. Yelling. Boy, did Kevin Garnett yell. He also put up 10 points on 5-6 shooting, adding four rebounds and a block in 13 minutes.
Here’s a rehash of the dunk.
Yeah, he looks okay.
Plum not in the doghouse: Kidd brought in Mason Plumlee ahead of Andray Blatche to replace Garnett, indicating that Plumlee’s minutes may not spiral down just yet. He also didn’t lose the spot, thanks to him DUNKING ALL OVER EVERYONE.
That’s eight dunks & at-the-rim layups from Plumlee, the last one created by an incredible Deron Williams behind-the-back pass. Yes, he can’t score from outside the restricted area, his defense leaves so much to be desired, and his inability to help in the paint led to buckets for Philadelphia down the stretch. But: DUNKS.
The Andray To Andrei Show:
Andray Blatche could pump-fake a statue.
My Thoughts At The Half: DERON WILLIAMS DUNKED.
Here’s proof of that:
#Redeemedza: The Nets were outscored 46-30 in the last 16:30 by a 17-60 team, allowed 22 points in the paint, and shot 9-28 from the field. They were lucky enough to hit their free throws down the stretch, but for a brief moment, it looked as though a Mirza Teletovic airball would spell doom for their chances.
But Teletovic, always the shooter, just fired again on their next possession, with drastically different results.
Kidd, Capped: Jason Kidd walked into Wells Fargo Center wearing a white Nets fitted cap. How many NBA coaches do you know that wear fitted caps?
Fan Night In Philly: On “Fan Appreciation Night” in Philadelphia, the Nets chartered two buses filled with Nets fans from Brooklyn to Philadelphia to watch tonight’s game at Wells Fargo Center:
— eLone (@eLonePB) April 5, 2014
Ian Eagle, Out of Context: “Don’t tell the state troopers.”
Shaun Livingston, Doin’ Not-So-Great Things: Shaun Livingston looked like his normal self early, hitting a shot out of the post and throwing in a layup over the backboard, but made some bad plays in crunch time, missing two key free throws and throwing two risky passes that could have resulted in turnovers.
Professor Plum, In The Paint, WITH THE TOMAHAWK!!
Credit due to YES Network’s Chris Shearn, who apparently has the coolest “Clue” pieces ever.
Next up: The Nets have Sunday off as a travel date before a back-to-back set in Florida against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.