Nets Finally Eke Out Ugly Victory Vs. 76ers


What happened: The Nets ended their five-game skid in the city of Brotherly Love, beating the Philadelphia 76ers on the road, 94-87.

Where they stand: At 26-38, the Nets are still well short of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, three games behind the Charlotte Hornets with 18 left to play.

That was… Ugly. And a win. And ugly. And a win.

The Nets did not exactly enter Philadelphia guns blazing en route to a blowout over a clearly inferior team. They had to draw early fouls, hit mid-range shots, and take advantage of their craftiness in the paint, to first build an 18-9 lead and then stage a comeback after falling behind to take control in the second half.

But behind a few key plays — notably two screen-and-rolls with Jarrett Jack and Thaddeus Young that led to a Jack layup and a short pull-up pop, two midrange jumpers by Deron Williams, and a tough floater inside by Young — the Nets built and extended their fourth-quarter lead, and the 76ers just didn’t have the acumen or wherewithal to run effective plays in crunch time. Up seven with 12 seconds left, the Nets moved the ball like a hot potato, and it was never clear if the 76ers were trying to foul or letting go of the game.

Undefeated update: The Nets are undefeated with Sarah Kustok as a color commentator.

Kustok, who’s done YES Network sideline reporter duties since the team moved to Brooklyn, became YES Network’s first Nets female color commentator and fourth ever in NBA history.

Game Grades: Read ’em here.

Forever Young:

The Nets don’t win this game without Young, a former 76ers forward of seven years, who showed off once again that he’s adjusted to an on-the-floor style of basketball after beginning his career as a high-flyer. You’d think the 76ers’ young, jumpy frontcourt would be just the antidote for Young’s particular brand of poison, but Young used that eagerness to his advantage with pump fakes and deft floaters inside, sometimes just using brute will and dribble moves to keep Philadelphia’s forwards off-balance.

Young finished with a game-high 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting, adding nine defensive rebounds.

An Outside Chance: The Nets have struggled to hit their threes this season, and tonight’s game was no exception, as they converted just two of 17 deep tries. The Nets have shot under 25 percent from three-point range in 18 games now this season, tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the most in the league. On the plus side, they did improve to 2-16 in such games with the win.

Brooklyn Cyclone:

Ian Eagle, Out Of Context: “Sloppy second.”

Rob(inson)bed: 76ers forward Thomas Robinson had no shortage of energy, finishing with seven points and 12 rebounds in just 17 minutes. You might remember that the Nets agreed to sign Robinson once he’d cleared waivers, and Robinson even tweeted his excitement about joining Brooklyn… until the 76ers swooped in at the last second and claimed Robinson off waivers. Oh, what might have been.

A brief word about Jarrett Jack Pull-Up Jumpers: I do not like Jarrett Jack pull-up jumpers.

Next up: The Nets take Sunday off before they play the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis Monday night.