Unfazed Nets dominate 76ers in third period for fourth win in row
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PHILADELPHIA -- So much for being distracted.
The Nets looked nothing like a team that began Tuesday intertwined in a potentially ugly situation. They shook off a long day that started with Andray Blatche reportedly getting questioned by police investigators regarding an alleged sexual assault incident in his hotel room, and were seemingly unfazed by the subsequent circus-like atmosphere that engulfed their morning shootaround.
Nothing, it seemed, bothered them. Certainly not the 76ers, who played more like they were the ones who had a whole lot on their minds. The Nets throttled Philadelphia in the second half, easily pushing the Sixers around to secure a 109-89 victory at the Wells Fargo Center and record their fourth straight win.
"I think it's a good sign," said P.J. Carlesimo, who improved to 6-1 as the Nets' interim coach. "But the one thing I've learned in this league: I was in college for 23 years and any little thing would set you set off like, 'How are we going to handle it?' Coaches even get fired and they handle it well. Players are very, very resilient."
Blatche was his normal self, active up and down the court. After launching a brick on his first shot attempt in the first quarter, the reserve center got hot and finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and two assists for the Nets (20-15).
Deron Williams led with 22 points and five assists, Joe Johnson had 15 points and five assists and Reggie Evans snatched a career-high 23 rebounds. The trio, like most of the Nets' key players, sat out for the bulk of the fourth quarter.
That's how lopsided things were.
"It was good," Williams said. "That's what we needed. We needed that. Besides what went on yesterday, besides what went on today, we needed this win bad. This team that we played is a good team. Even without [Andruw] Bynum, they are a good team. They just came off a tough road trip.
"We knew that and wanted to take advantage of that."
There were no third-quarter blues for the Nets this time. In fact, it was the exact opposite. They were completely dominant and stepped on the Sixers' necks from the quarter's outset, seizing control with a commanding 18-2 run. The Nets outscored Philadelphia (15-21) 35-14 thanks to canning 14 of 19 shots and outrebounding the Sixers 14-3
"We were able to get stops, kind of get out in transition and get a lot of easy baskets," Johnson said. "It just kind of got contagious. That was probably the best third quarter we've had all year. It was pretty to be a part of and it was fun to watch.
"When we are clicking on all cylinders like we were in the third quarter, I don't know if we can't be beat."
Brook Lopez said: "We were very highly focused, especially coming into the second half. We knew we had to pick up the energy, pick up the defense and we did that."
Notes & quotes: Looks like the Nets won't be landing Phil Jackson as their next coach. According to sherridanhoops.com, Jackson told the website in a brief statement Tuesday night that he has no intention of ever coaching again.