Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Sixers 82, Nets 77 WHAT IT MEANS: Another game. Another loss. The Nets, doomed by a horrific performance from the field, dropped their season-high eighth straight game, this one to the Philadelphia 76ers by a count of 82-77 on Tuesday night at Prudential Center. New Jersey (6-19) shot it at just a 34.1 percent clip from the field (28-for-82) and went only 4-for-13 from 3-point range as the Sixers clamped down defensively, much like they did in their previous victory against the New Orleans Hornets. Don’t forget, the Nets were 5-10 before they took on the Sixers in Philadelphia. But they became unglued in the fourth in that contest, lost by 16 and are just 1-8 since. It was just the second time Philadelphia won a game on the road all season. The Sixers (9-15) have lost 10 away from home.
TURNING POINT: When Ben Uzoh entered the game. We kid you not. The little-used guard out of Tulsa checked in with the Nets down 55-45 and 4:28 remaining in the third quarter. But behind Uzoh’s pair of acrobatic layups and assist on Derrick Favors’ monster dunk got the Nets got within two at 59-57 with 11:11 left in the fourth.
Unfortunately, the comeback was short-lived. The Nets were down by three at the 9:22 mark when Jrue Holiday drilled a 3-pointer and Spencer Hawes followed with a longer jumper with the shot clock winding down to make it an eight-point Sixer edge. And against the free-falling Nets and their stagnant offense, that was more than enough. Not even a late surge could keep them from sputtering as Andre Iguodala put the game on ice when he was fouled and knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 80-75 with 16 seconds remaining.
STAR OF THE GAME: We’re all about energy. And Derrick Favors gave the Nets energy. He finished with 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting and tied Kris Humphries for the team high with 13 rebounds. In fact, the Nets outrebound the Sixers, 51-36. At least they won that category.
T-WILL DEALT: The Nets sent 23-year-old swingman Terrence Williams to the Houston Rockets and veteran Joe Smith to the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-way trade that landed them Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and a pair of first round draft picks: the Lakers’ 2011 first and the Rockets’ 2012 lottery protected first. The deal will have to be announced Wednesday, the first day teams can trade players that were signed during the offseason -- and Smith fits that bill.
NET IMPACT: At the very least, the Nets are stockpiling assets that they can use improve their roster: either immediately via trade or long term via the draft. The Nets now have a total of five first-round picks over the next two seasons (their own 2011 and 2012 firsts, plus a 2011 lottery protected first from Golden State that was acquired in the Marcus Williams deal in 2008). They also have two valuable expiring contracts in the 26-year-old sharpshooting Vujacic (about $5
million) and veteran Troy Murphy (almost $10 million). And you can’t forget about the 19-year-old rookie Favors -- the youngest player in the NBA -- who was once thought to be the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade that would’ve landed the Nets Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony.
DYNAMIC DU-WHOA: First, Kris Humphries’ girlfriend Kim Kardashian.
Now, Vujacic’s girlfriend Maria Sharapova. At the very least, the Nets have the potential to put a pair of starlets in the courtside seats at the Rock.
MORROW HURT: Right before the opening tip-off, shooting guard Anthony Morrow limped off the court and was replaced by reserve Stephen Graham in the starting lineup. The team later announced that Morrow has a strained right hamstring. He did not return.
UP NEXT: 2010 No. 1 NBA Draft pick John Wall, one of the most explosive guards in the league, and the Washington Wizards invade the Prudential Center on Thursday night. Then, the Nets will head north to Toronto to play the Raptors in the second-half of a back-to-back on Friday night. New Jersey finishes up the week by hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon.