By Jason Schott – Reporter / Assignment Editor@JESchott19

The Nets played their best fourth quarter in a while to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 95-92, at a sold-out Barclays Center on Sunday afternoon. Nets Head Coach Avery Johnson went with a different lineup in the fourth, and it paid off. The Nets snap a streak of eight losses in ten games and enter their Christmas Day battle with the Boston Celtics at 14-12. 

Avery Johnson switched it up in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and it resulted in a W. Photo by @LolitaLens.

Johnson used a lineup of Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans, Jerry Stackhouse and Gerald Wallace for a good chunk of the fourth quarter.

The Nets led 69-64 entering the fourth, and it had an inauspicious beginning as Andray Blatche was called for a blocking foul on Philadelphia’s Dorell Wright when it looked like Blatche had position.

Wright hit both free throws, and Jrue Holiday followed with a three-pointer to tie the game at 69.

The Nets responded with Gerald Wallace getting to the line and making one of two free throws, and Jerry Stackhouse picking up the ball on a broken inbounds pass for a dunk to make it 72-69 Brooklyn.

That started an offensive outburst as C.J. Watson got a layup, followed by a Keith Bogans three-pointer, an Andray Blatche dunk, and a Bogans lay-up to make it 81-75 Nets.

Nets guard Deron Williams, a focus lately for why the Nets have struggled, stepped up with nine points in the fourth quarter. His biggest shot was a three-pointer to make it 89-82 Nets with 1:04 left.

Deron Williams took the game over in the closing minutes on Sunday. Photo by @LolitaLens.

It got dicey as the Sixers cut it to 92-90 with 10 seconds left, and Williams hit two free throws to restore order.

The Nets played one of their most complete game of the season, even though they started off in a 12-4 hole. From a timeout with 5:50 left in the first, the Nets went on a 16-0 run led by Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace. They led 24-17 at the end of the first and 43-41 at halftime.

Joe Johnson was clutch as usual in the third quarter when the Nets’ lead was being held at one basket. Johnson had 10 points in the third quarter, capped off by a three-pointer off an inbounds from the Nets’ end with 4.9 seconds left.

Of the third quarter, in which they outscored the Sixers 26-23, Avery Johnson said, “I was very satisfied because that’s been our Achilles heel. For the most part, we took care of the ball. We were so organized whenever there was a breakdown. You even saw one sitation when Blatche was taking up the ball and he called the play or made a play for us because we were organized.”

Johnson led the Nets for the game with 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting with three 3-pointers and seven rebounds.

He was one of six Nets in double figures, as Williams had 16, Brook Lopez and Wallace each had 14, Bogans had 13, and Blatche chipped in 10. 

Kris Cut out of lineup: Nets forward Kris Humphries did not play on Sunday. He was in uniform and is not dealing with an injury.

Nets Head Coach Avery Johnson said after the game that it was a coach’s decision to not play him. He told Humphries before the game that his role would be limited for the foreseeable future. He will look to Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans to fill Humphries’ spot at forward.

He might be back in the rotation sooner than expected. He was restored to the starting lineup last Tuesday and that only lasted two games.

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8 thoughts on “Nets snap skid: Is Avery discovering some solutions?

  1. Wait, why ‘might he be back in the lineup if he was told his minutes will be limited and he got a great big DNP today (and the team won)? Please explain…

    • I meant that Avery made it very important that he was restoring the starting lineup with Hump and Lopez together, and it should have lasted longer than two games. Today’s news was presented with the same importance, but who knows if Avery will turn this around and give Hump normal minutes by Wednesday night in Milwaukee.

  2. Sunday’s game’s a start. I still hate to think where the team would have been if Joe hadn’t thrown in a pair of 30-footers to end the 3rd…

    Avery’s teams abandon their strengths far too quickly … but Sunday there were flashes of hope:

    * I’ve been waiting for Crash to back down undersized opponents. First four touches in the third he did that and got to the line twice, set up JJ for an open 15 footer once, and hooked up Lopez for a dunk attempt (Lopez got to the line). Downside: the Nets went away from that the rest of the game, even when J-Rich was on Wallace.

    * Blatche has those games where he’s feelin’ it. Sunday he threw down intimidating dunks, ran a fast break, and took advantage of limited minutes. Good for Avery for leaving him out there in the 4th.

    * Even in D-Will’s down season, he’s a great FT shooter. Keep getting the ball down low and getting to the line…and Williams will ice games with free throws.

    Strengths surfaced Sunday. Avery needs to play to those strengths.

  3. I can think of 24 million reasons why Hump will be back on the court soon. The Nets have too much invested in him to sit him at the end of the bench. Their next three opponents (Celtics, Bucks, Bobcats) all play a lot of small ball, so they don’t need Hump for those games unless the other bigs get in foul trouble. I’d give him a few minutes in the Charlotte game as a tune up for battling Varejao and Tristan Thompson on the boards when they play the Cavs next Saturday.

    That’s what I would do. Since Avery is making the call, who the hell knows.

  4. I’m not sure I understand how we could be “dominant” in a quarter if we were outscored in that selfsame quarter.

    • The Nets could have easily folded after Philly tied it in the opening minute of the fourth, and didn’t. They ‘dominated’ the final 11 minutes of the game, and seeing Deron be clutch down the stretch was huge.

      • OK, given our record this year, I can accept that “not folding” = “dominant.”

  5. When I watched the first Nets preseason game against Philly (not televised from Atlantic City) … I saw a team come out and truly DOMINATE a half of basketball. They bullied everyone on the boards then ran the floor. Deron was a superstar. Any miss was tipped in by Hump or Wallace. (They hung on in OT, and at the time we attributed the collapse to reserves and preseason apathy…)

    …The first half of that first game was the last time this team looked truly dominant, top to bottom. They can get it back, but a ton of confidence has been drained from D-Will, Hump, MarShon, and the restless bench.

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