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News » Sixers manage to squeak past mighty Nets

Sixers manage to squeak past mighty Nets

Sixers manage to squeak past mighty Nets HAD THE 76ers been able to play their second unit against the New Jersey Nets' second-teamers last night at the Wachovia Center, it wouldn't have been a contest.

The Nets had only four subs on the bench to begin the game, and three to end it, as they are depleted by sickness and injury. The Sixers finally outlasted the visitors, 97-94, in front of 10,052 uninspired fans.

This game had about as much zip as a Game 6 Pedro Martinez fastball. But the Sixers did get the win, and it is a far better way to start a six-games-in-9-days stretch than the alternative. It also kept New Jersey winless, and their 0-6 record to begin a season is the worst in franchise history.

"I want to give a lot of credit to the Nets," Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said. "Their manpower is down and their guys played really hard. They were desperate and when you play a desperate team that's very well coached, it's going to be a hard battle."

New Jersey was without starters Chris Douglas-Roberts (flulike symptoms), Devin Harris (right groin strain) and Yi Jianlian (sprained right MCL). With sub Sean Williams not getting off the bench and starting guard Courtney Lee leaving early in the third quarter with a strained left groin, the rotation was down to seven for coach Lawrence Frank for most of the second half.

The atmosphere was about as dull as a nickel. Desperate for some kind of spark, Jordan found it with, appropriately, his bench.

"You can get a feel for the game from how we started and how we were struggling," said sub Jason Kapono, who scored 14 points and nailed four of six treys. "We were a step slow. We [subs] were just trying to bring anything to the table. I thought the second group - Willie [Green], Royal [Ivey], J [Jason] Smith were great. Marreese Speights was good. We still didn't play that well, but we played hard and the mindset was right."

Those five subs combined for 42 points. Still, the Nets hung. Actually, they did better than that. When rookie Terrence Williams hit a 15-footer late in the third, it gave the Nets a 71-63 lead. The Sixers seemed to get a much-needed boost at the end of the quarter when Lou Williams drained a trey at the buzzer. But when the officials reviewed the shot, it was waved off and the Sixers entered the fourth trailing, 73-68.

As expected, although it took longer than many would have liked, the Nets started dragging in the fourth and the Sixers were able to grab the much-needed win. After falling behind, 87-81, the Sixers outscored the Nets in the last 7:53, 16-7, to up their record to 3-2.

"We knew coming into this game that they were going to fight," said Williams, who posted 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists, with no turnovers. "They've been fighting to this point. We realize they don't have some personnel. Sometimes that type of game is harder than when they have all of their guys because you're dealing with a Basketball team with guys that might not necessarily get the minutes they had tonight, so they're coming in trying to prove themselves."

For the most part, they did that. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 22 points and 11 rebounds in close to 44 minutes. Forward Trenton Hassell, who hadn't scored this season in 8 minutes of play coming into the game, posted 17 points and 12 rebounds.

With the score tied, 92-92, the Sixers forced a turnover by guard Rafer Alston and Andre Iguodala (16 points) nailed a three-pointer at the other end for a 95-92 lead. After a driving layup by Alston pulled the Nets within one, Sam Dalembert snared an offensive rebound off an Iguodala miss with 26.6 seconds remaining. After Thad Young's foul shot made it 96-94, Eduardo Najera missed a driving layup that Iguodala corralled. He then hit one of two foul shots with 11.6 remaining. New Jersey couldn't get a shot off in its final possession and the Sixers escaped.

"I'm looking for stops and I'm looking for defensive energy," Jordan said of what provided the spark last night. "With Lopez anchoring the offense, they move the ball around and get the ball in the post. When the ball gets in the post, the game slows down. Lopez shot a pretty good percentage [8-for-18]. And if you can get stops and then get rebounds, then you can get out [to fastbreak]. We don't really practice running after makes. The incentive should be to get stops."

The Sixers allowed the depleted Nets to shoot 47 percent from the floor, far better than their season average of 40 percent coming into the game.

Jordan claimed to be a very patient man the other night after the Sixers lost by 31 points to the Celtics. His team sure is trying that virtue, as they nearly allowed a team without a win and many of its players to come in and grab its initial win.

"My patience is tested every day," Jordan said. "In practice, in the coaches meetings. Every part of this job you have to have patience."

Six shots

Center Primoz Brezec was deactivated for the fourth straight game . . . The three teams the Sixers have beaten this year (Milwaukee, New York and New Jersey) are a combined 3-13 . . . Eddie Jordan reiterated before the game that the team is ahead of schedule in learning the Princeton offense and that the players' work ethic has been very good all year . . . The team will practice early this afternoon and then fly to Detroit for tomorrow's 1 p.m. game with the Pistons.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 7, 2009


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