NEW YORK (AP) — Nets coach Avery Johnson used the previous three days to give his team some rest after Brooklyn dropped nine of its last ten games.
The Nets got in some practice time and Johnson’s staff looked over recent game film, adding some new plays to an offense that has struggled this season.
It paid off Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Joe Johnson scored 22 points, including 10 in the third quarter, Gerald Wallace had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists and the Nets held on to beat the 76ers 95-92.
Avery Johnson came away pleased with the performance after the Nets had coughed up leads in the second half during their recent stretch of loses.
“Very satisfied because you know that’s been our Achilles heel,” the coach said. “We still had some minor issues in there. For the most part we took care of the ball. We were so organized whenever there was a breakdown.”
The Sixers rallied from eight points down in the final 40.5 seconds left, but Brooklyn didn’t fold.
“We definitely needed it. We just needed to get back in the winning track, especially in our building. It was good for us tonight,” said Deron Williams, who added 16 points to help the Nets end a six-game losing streak at home against Philadelphia.
“We put in a couple of new sets which were old sets that we ran the last couple of years, that we hadn’t put in this year. It was a little more continuity. We just went over it and kind of worked on it and it was good for us tonight. We got some good looks out of it. We got to the back side of plays and got some open shots.”
Jrue Holiday led Philadelphia with 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds, Thadeus Young added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Evan Turner had 15 points and seven rebounds. The 76ers, opening an eight-game trip, have dropped six of their last seven games.
“We got off to a good start, up 12-4. Brooklyn hit us with a 20-5 run which knocked us back and also Joe Johnson’s close to the third quarter. I just spoke to our guys about finishing quarters and who is the most dangerous man on the floor,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said.
“Those are mistakes you can’t make when you’re on the road. As long as I’m the coach, our guys are going to fight back. If they don’t then they’d have to get another coach.”
The game seemed out of reach for the Sixers when Williams made a layup with 40.5 seconds left to make it 91-83.
But Holiday drew a foul on Williams and hit one of two free throws to make it 91-84. Holiday then fouled Williams, but he missed both free throws and Holiday answered with a 3-pointer with 19.1 seconds left to cut it to 91-87.
After Turner’s foul sent Joe Johnson to the line, the Nets guard hit the first free throw but missed the second, leaving Brooklyn ahead 92-87. Dorell Wright then made a 3-pointer with 9.6 seconds left to cut it to 92-90.
Williams was fouled again by Holiday and hit two free throws before Turner answered with a layup to make it 94-92. Joe Johnson finished the scoring with a free throw.
“I thought we played today with a lot more intensity. I thought we had a lot more fun. We talked about it in practice the other day, had a great practice and it came over to the game,” Joe Johnson said.
Philadelphia jumped out to a 12-4 lead before Avery Johnson called a 20-second timeout with 5:50 left in the first quarter. Brooklyn responded with an 18-0 run, turning an eight-point deficit into a 10-point lead the Nets wouldn’t relinquish.
“They made shots and got going, so that was pretty much it,” Turner said.
Notes: Nets F Kris Humphries was projected to be in the starting lineup but was replaced by F Keith Bogans. Wallace slid over to the power forward spot as Avery Johnson preferred to go with a smaller lineup, something he had been working on over the stretch of days the team had off. . Brooklyn is 7-2 against the Eastern Conference at home this season. . The Nets’ previous home win against the Sixers came on April 5, 2009. … Philadelphia’s trip also includes stops in Memphis, Los Angeles to face the Lakers, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.