PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Gerald Green scored 23 points, and Kris Humphries had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the New Jersey Nets to a 95-89 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
Deron Williams had 11 points and 10 assists, MarShon Brooks scored 22 points and Jordan Williams had 13. New Jersey’s 13 road wins are four more than they have at home.
Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 19 points, Evan Turner had 18 and Thaddeus Young 13.
The Sixers snapped a two-game winning streak and suffered a big blow in their push up the Eastern Conference standings. They started the game clinging to seventh place and play six of their final seven games on the road. This was a game they could not afford to lose.
The Sixers, who started 20-9, have not won three straight games since March 7-11.
For a team with so much at stake, the Sixers slogged out the first three quarters, missing a flurry of shots in the paint. In front of one of the thinnest crowds of the season, the Sixers lacked energy and again struggled to get to the free-throw line.
The Sixers were 11½-point favorites, yet trailed 66-63 entering the fourth.
The Nets were content to take over from there. Green buried three 3-pointers and Brooks hit a backbreaker late in the game to squash Philadelphia’s comeback bid.
In a game with 17 ties, Williams completed a three-point play with 4:11 left to give the Nets an 83-80 lead. But again the Nets failed to hang on to the lead and it looked like the Sixers might have the feel-good win they badly needed.
New Jersey wouldn’t let it happen. Green buried a 3 with 1:41 left and a 90-85 lead. Brooks hit the last of New Jersey’s six 3-pointers to finish off the Sixers.
Both teams shot 34 of 81 from the floor. The free throws were almost identical — Philly was 20 of 27; New Jersey 21 of 27. The difference came beyond the arc, where the Sixers missed nine of 10 3s. Andre Iguodala and Jodie Meeks each went 0 for 3.
Even with playoffs out of reach, the Nets are hardly a team with no direction: They’re heading to New York. The NBA’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the relocation of the Nets to Brooklyn on Friday.
“I know we’re all looking forward to being a part of Brooklyn and being a part of that project,” coach Avery Johnson said. “I think it’s going to help. We’re the only team that’s in transition like we are. There’s a lot of energy and anticipation of us moving there.”
NOTES: Will Smith, who owns a stake in the 76ers, was at the game. … 76ers coach Doug Collins, a former broadcaster, will call basketball games for NBC during the Olympics. Collins was part of the 1972 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team that was denied a gold medal following a hotly debated finish against the Soviet Union. Collins declined to say if Olympians should be paid. “Regardless of whether they’re paid or not, I know they’re going over for one thing, and that’s to win,” he said.
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