Livingston lights up 76ers in Nets' win

PHILADELPHIA -- On Monday night, Brooklyn Nets point guard Shaun Livingston played as well as his coach, Jason Kidd, used to back in his heyday.

Livingston put together a Kidd-like stat-line in the Nets’ 127-97 preseason victory over the Philadelphia 76ers: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and 2 turnovers in 23 minutes.

“He was great. I think the way he plays, he moves the ball and gets everyone going, and it kind of comes back to him,” center Brook Lopez said. “What comes around goes around.”

Sure, the games don’t count. And it’s tough to make anything of the preseason, especially when you’re facing a team as inept as the Sixers, who will likely struggle to win 10 games. But Livingston has been nothing short of sensational while stepping into the starting lineup in place of the injured Deron Williams.

“I think he’s gotten better each time he’s taken the floor,” Kidd said. “His comfort level you can see he’s become very comfortable, but again, he’s a professional. He knows what it takes to run a team. And I think he displayed that tonight.”

On Monday night, Livingston didn’t miss a shot, going a perfect 7-for-7 from the field. He dunked twice, raising his preseason total to four in three games. In the third quarter, he dribbled behind his back and then whipped a no-look pass to shooting guard Joe Johnson for an open 3-pointer.

“It was a good game. I’m a player that kind of plays on feel, so the more comfortable I feel, the more acclimated I get, but there’s still a long way to go,” Livingston said. “It’s my job to come out every night, even though it’s the preseason, I’m building for the preseason.”

Livingston said his explosiveness is similar to what it was last season in Cleveland.

“It’s been building every year,” Livingston said. “I’m just trying to stay consistent.”

So, has Livingston been counting his dunks?

“Nah. C'mon, man,” he said with a laugh. “I’m just trying to finish the right way, and I don’t want to get my [stuff] blocked and hear Kevin [Garnett’s] mouth.”

Fair enough.