Two lost basketball seasons found themselves at the same intersection again Tuesday night, this time at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic in Brooklyn.
The 76ers carried an NBA-worst 9-57 bottom line into Barclays Center. The Nets lugged in an 18-48 record. But they had been the 76ers’ antidote for chronic losing lately. The Sixers beat them the last two times they met, both in Philadelphia.
This time, though, the Nets flipped the script. Bojan Bogdanovic made sure of that with the best game of his NBA career. The 6-8 forward poured in a career-high 44 points on 17-for-27 shooting, and the Nets beat short-handed Philadelphia, 131-114, to stop their four-game losing skid and earn a split of the four-game season series.
“Bogdanovic held us together,” interim coach Tony Brown said.
The 44 points set a Barclays record for a Nets player and tied the late Drazen Petrovic’s Nets record for a foreign-born player, which was set in 1993.
“I thought he scored more,” Bogdanovic said of the fellow Croatian. “I’m really proud to tie his record.”
Philadelphia had just 10 players available. 76ers coach Brett Brown said: “I think you just sort of take the group that is available and roll with it.”
Instead, Bogdanovic got the Nets rolling. He just couldn’t miss in the first quarter — 6 of 6 from the floor, including 3-for-3 on threes; 3-for-3 from the line; 17 points in the first 9:57.
“I realized that tonight may be my night to get a career high in the NBA,” Bogdanovic said.
The margin stood at 17 after 12 minutes, 32-15. The cushion expanded to as many as 23 in the second quarter. Bogdanovic was 9-for-9 until finally missing with about 23 seconds left until halftime. He had 24 points at the break, and the Nets owned a 71-51 advantage.
Bogdanovic surpassed his previous NBA career high of 28 with a three in the third quarter. When he nailed a 20-footer early in the fourth, Bogdanovic had turned 40, and the lead was 104-83.
The 76ers then went on a 16-4 run to cut it to nine. But Sean Kilpatrick scored eight of his career-high-tying 19 and Brook Lopez scored seven of his 18 to help Bogdanovic hold them off.
“He did it in a variety of ways,” Lopez said. “That’s definitely what he’s capable of.”
Notes & quotes: The representative for 6-10 D-League center Henry Sims, Impact Sports Management, confirmed on Twitter that the Nets are signing him to a 10-day contract. Brett Brown, who saw Sims average 8 points and 4.9 rebounds for the 76ers in 26 games last season, said, “He brings a heck of a competitive edge to his game.”