Misery loves company? The Nets welcomed the 76ers to Barclays Center on Sunday afternoon in the hope they could improve their NBA-worst record against the second-worst team after losing 10 of their previous 11 games.
Alas, the Nets’ suffering continued as the 76ers took control with a 13-0 run late in the final period on their way to a 105-95 triumph. And the Nets can’t even take solace in positioning themselves for the No. 1 draft pick in a year when they must switch places with Boston in the draft.
The Nets blew an 11-point halftime lead with one of their trademark awful third quarters. They were outscored 32-16 and shot 33.3 percent with seven turnovers to trail by five going to the fourth period. But after dropping further back, they put together a 12-2 burst that included two three-pointers by Sean Kilpatrick for an 85-84 lead.
As time wound down, the 76ers struck for a 13-0 run, including the last six points by Robert Covington, to take command at 101-87. The Nets committed 22 turnovers leading to 22 76ers points, and they were outrebounded by six. Although the Nets held Philadelphia to 39.4-percent shooting, the 76ers had more possessions and took 16 more shots.
“To get 16 more shots than us and 10 more free throws [27 to 17], it’s a tough combination to beat,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We have to do a better job . . . just executing our offense better and making better decisions. It’s a little disappointing because I felt like our defense gave us a chance. But you can’t turn it over like that and give them that many more possessions. Eventually, it’s going to get you.”
Brook Lopez led the Nets (8-28) with 26 points but got scant help on offense as the rest of the starting lineup totaled only 21 points. Justin Hamilton had 16 off the bench, but the Nets scored just 38 second-half points.
The 76ers (10-25) got 20 points from Joel Embiid, 18 from Dario Saric and 15 each from Nik Stauskas and Covington, who added 11 rebounds.
Thanks to 18 points by Lopez, the Nets built a 57-46 halftime lead, but they couldn’t sustain it. The 76ers began the third period on a 13-0 run, and after the Nets regained the lead, the 76ers responded with a 17-3 run to push their lead to 10 points late in the third.
Nets turnovers were a major factor. Starting point guard Isaiah Whitehead had six and Kilpatrick, a primary ballhandler off the bench, had five. Both have been in and out of the starting lineup recently, and Atkinson said they might be putting pressure on themselves.
“I think sometimes it’s confidence,” Atkinson said. “Sean may be doubting himself a little. We love Sean, and I’m glad he had a resurgence in the second half. Spencer [Dinwiddie] is learning our offense, and I’ll throw Isaiah in that boat, too. It’s the quarterback of our team. I know they can do better, so we have to help them.”
Whitehead said it seemed as if the Nets “ran out of gas” after fighting from 10 points behind in the third quarter to get to the lead early in the fourth.
As for his turnovers, he said, “It’s just errors, just bonehead plays, just not being myself when I have the ball, not being careful . . . It’s tough to go from off the bench to starting and starting to off the bench because it’s two different feels of the game. Once I learn how to do both, I think I’ll do better at both of them.”