By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
The Nets had one of their most impressive wins of the season Tuesday night, as they blew out the Philadelphia 76ers, 104-83 at Barclays Center. Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez dominated early to give them a big lead that they held for the rest of the night.
Reggie Evans is turning into a very complete player, as he is starting to become a scorer in addition to being one of the best rebounders in the game. Evans had 17 points and 24 rebounds for his fourth double-double in the last seven games. He only had four double-doubles in the first 69 games of the season.
Through three quarters, Evans had more rebounds (24) than the entire Philadelphia team (22). Those 24 rebounds (9 offensive, 15 defensive) ensured that Evans had 20+ rebounds for the ninth time this season, and the Nets are 8-1 when that happens. Evans said of the accomplishment, “I just had the mindset attacking on offense and on defense as we head into the playoffs.”
Evans had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter, the first Net ever to record a double-double by the end of the first quarter. The last NBA player to accomplish this feat was Dwight Howard on February 8, 2012 vs. the Miami Heat, when he had 10 points and 11 rebounds in the first quarter of that game.
In addition to Evans’ big performance, Brook Lopez had 15 points on 7-for-11 from the field, with 7 rebounds in the first. It resulted in the Nets holding a 31-18 lead after the first quarter.
Evans said of Lopez, “I feed off of Brook a lot, especially when he has his jumper going and his post game working. Whenever Brook is playing well, it’s always a plus for us.”
Lopez said of Evans, “Reggie has been great. It seems like a nightly routine. He has become so great at making a decision after he gets the offensive rebound, either to go back up strong or to find the open man.”
The second quarter was a different story, as the Nets had a very balanced scoring attack, with Evans, Lopez, Joe Johnson, MarShon Brooks, and C.J. Watson scoring four points each, Jerry Stackhouse draining a three, and Kris Humphries chipping in a basket. The Nets outscored the 76ers 25-20 in the second quarter to have a commanding 56-38 lead at halftime.
Lopez led the Nets with 29 points on 13-22 shooting and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes. The blowout allowed the Nets to also keep down Joe Johnson’s minutes, as he had 11 points in 13 minutes, and Deron Williams also played just 26:44, and he had 11 points and 4 assists.
The Nets improved to 45-32, and the 45 wins is the most the Nets have had since the 2005-06 season. P.J. Carlesimo improved to 31-18 as head coach, tied for the best start for a coach in franchise history.
DIVISION RACE OVER: The New York Knicks clinched the Atlantic Division title with a 120-99 win over the Washington Wizards. The Knicks are 51-26, with a 2 1/2-game lead over the Indiana Pacers for the second seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The Nets did gain ground on the Chicago Bulls, as Chicago lost to the Toronto Raptors at home, 101-98, to fall to 42-35. The Nets now hold a three-game edge on the Bulls for the fourth seed in the playoffs and home court in an eventual playoff matchup.
WATCH Nets Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo discuss the win: