PHILADELPHIA - Forget Black Friday. This could've been Black Wednesday.
The sparse crowd was sensing this might finally be the night, anxiously hoping a third-quarter charge that whittled what was once a 17-point lead down to five was the sign they've longed for. In taking on the 76ers and matching up with the league's only winless team, the last thing the Nets knew they should do is give Philadelphia a modicum of life.
But that's exactly what was happening and the Nets seemed powerless to stop it.
Good thing some chatter with the fans ignited a fire inside Kevin Garnett. Sparked by a little trash talk from a team fan club called the Revolutionaries seated on the baseline nearest Philadelphia's bench, Garnett buried a 19-footer jumper with 32.8 seconds, stabilizing things and propelling the Nets to a 99-91 victory over the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.
"I had some females down there that kind of got me going," Garnett said. "I appreciate them. I'm glad they did it. They put a little kick in my juice."
Garnett's huge bucket saved the Nets (6-8) from an embarrassing defeat that probably would've had them feeling like they were choking on a leftover turkey wishbone. Highlighted by Garnett's jumper, Brooklyn outscored Philadelphia 9-2 in the game's final 1:32 to hold off the 76ers (0-15).
Alan Anderson also poured in 10 fourth-quarter points for the Nets, who were paced by Joe Johnson's 21 points. Philadelphia, which features seven undrafted free agents, matched its franchise record for its worst start to a season and is three games away from tying the Nets' all-time mark of 18 straight losses to open a season.
"A win is a win, but we've got to figure out how -- you get a team down, what, 20, 22 -- you've got to put them away," said Deron Williams, who had 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. "With that being said, the second half was way different than the first half was for us. First quarter, that's some of the best basketball we've played, as far as moving the ball, getting stops and being at the right place at the right time. Second half, that wasn't the case for whatever reason. I guess if you get up , you think you can coast. But that's not the case.
"This team plays hard for the whole game and they are a bunch of young guys. So we found out that the hard way."
Cold shooting, sloppy play and lackadaisical defense by the Nets in the second half allowed Philadelphia to climb back into it. All the positive things that aided in them racing out to a 20-point advantage rapidly vanished, providing the 76ers with an opening.
Williams, who netted 11 points in the first quarter, went scoreless in the second and third quarters and didn't hit a basket until his big floater in the lane handed the Nets a 90-83 edge with 2:45 remaining. Brook Lopez, who posted 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks to go along with six bad turnovers, was ineffective after a strong first quarter in which he posted nine points and five rebounds. The 7-footer spent the initial 6:34 of the fourth quarter on the bench before Nets coach Lionel Hollins finally signaled for him.
That's probably where the rest of the starters should've been, too. For the tail end of the quarter anyway. At least in theory.
But the Nets have a way of making things really hard on themselves.
"We would've liked to put this away early, be on the bench in the fourth quarter," Williams said. "But it didn't happen. We had to fight down the stretch, they end up taking the lead. So we showed a lot of resilience, not giving up. We didn't want to become the first team they get a win against. Nobody does."