PHILADELPHIA — Whoever wins the Atlantic 10 Tournament tomorrow afternoon should consider hanging around Barclays Center to challenge the Nets.
They lost to the worst team in the NBA on Friday night, and a hot college team just might stand a chance.
Brook Lopez had 24 points and seven rebounds, but the Nets fell to the perpetually rebuilding 76ers, 95-89, at Wells Fargo Center. It was the fifth loss in six games for the Nets (18-47). After a promising start out West, they finished their nine-game road trip at 3-6.
The 76ers (9-56) entered on a 13-game losing streak. They had not won since Feb. 6 against the Nets. Philadelphia is 2-1 against the Nets this season and 7-55 against everyone else.
Lopez opened the game with a dunk, but Philadelphia’s Robert Covington answered with a three-pointer. The Nets never led again.
“They play with energy all 48,” Lopez said. “They’ve got nothing to lose. They’re very scrappy. They were definitely the aggressor.”
The Nets’ Thaddeus Young had 21 points and nine rebounds against the team that selected him 12th overall in the 2007 NBA draft. Markel Brown started at guard in place of Bojan Bogdanovic (rest) and finished with five points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who grew up in nearby Chester, sat out again.
The Nets pulled within 88-83 with 4:16 remaining when Wayne Ellington swished a 26-foot three-pointer from the left side, but they drew no closer.
“They block shots and they change shots,” Lopez said. “That’s something you have to be able to play around. You have to make that extra pass and get that hockey assist . . . We were kind of scratching and clawing the whole time.”
The 76ers again were without rookie power forward Jahlil Okafor (knee); it was announced before the game that he is out for the season. Okafor, who spent one year at Duke, was the third overall pick last year.
The 76ers got a scare with 9:40 remaining in the third quarter when Covington inadvertently was kicked in the face by teammate Jerami Grant as both went up for a rebound. Covington, who had a team-high 12 points at the time, was wheeled out on a stretcher but drew cheers as he waved to the crowd. Grant walked off the court with assistance.