Nets Cruise Past Sixers
New Jersey 101, Philadelphia 90
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 18 (Ticker) -- Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets gave the Philadelphia 76ers another reason to examine their porous defense.
Carter had 31 points and 10 assists and the Nets contained Allen Iverson for more than a half in a convincing 101-90 victory over the slumping 76ers.
New Jersey (21-15) has won two in a row and 12 of 15 to put more distance between itself and the rest of the weak Atlantic Division.
"We were able to get the lead early and we continued to push it," Jefferson said. "It doesn't mater who is the opponent, we have to try to play the same way."
"Each division game counts," Carter said. "You never know you, might end up with a tie and you want the tiebreaker. You want the advantage when it comes to playoff positioning. For us, it important to win every game, of course, but it's even more important to win every division game."
Looking for more defense, Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks changed his starting lineup as he replaced sharpshooter Kyle Korver with John Salmons. It did not work as the Nets made eight straight shots during one stretch and opened a 30-20 lead after one period.
"Offensively, we were aggressive and we shared the ball," said Carter, who made 12-of-22 shots. "We made quick decisions - move the ball and find the open guy. The open guy was knocking down shots."
"They hit some tough shots and we just didn't defend for 48 minutes," Salmons said. "It's been like that for a while. We just got to stay together and just don't give up. You just got to keep trying."
The defense got a bit better in the second period as Philadelphia closed to 48-42 at halftime. But New Jersey took advantage of another lapse early in the third quarter as Carter and Krstic each scored five points in an 11-0 run that rebuilt the lead to 61-46.
Quiet to that point, Iverson heated up, scoring 19 points in the final eight-plus minutes of the period to cut the deficit to 74-69.
"I just got more aggressive," said Iverson, who made 14-of-29 shots. "I didn't have the ball in my hands that much in the first half because I was playing the 2-guard. When they took John out of the game in the second half, I handled the ball more and I was able to make things happen for myself and my teammates."
"There is nothing that the league can do that can stop Allen Iverson," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You just try to make it as tough as possible on him and focus on the other guys and see if you can do a decent job on them."
However, Cliff Robinson drained a 3-pointer to stall the rally, then hit three jumpers early in the fourth quarter to widen the lead to 88-71 with 7:19 left. The Sixers got no closer than eight points thereafter.
Robinson scored 15 points off the bench and Jason Kidd handed out nine assists for the Nets, who avenged a home loss to the Sixers on Dec. 10.
"We do a really good job at keeping the ball moving," Robinson said. "When we don't move the ball, teams can key in on Vince (Carter). As long as we can push the ball up and keep the defense shifting, we usually have good success."
"Our bench, mainly Cliff, was outstanding," Carter said. "Something in the second half ignited them. It was great to see because you were able to bring in another guy and still keep going."
Iverson had 36 points and nine assists for the Sixers, who have lost two in a row and five of seven, allowing more than 108 points per game during that span. After the game, Cheeks closed the locker room for 27 minutes for a one-sided team meeting.
"I did all the talking," Cheeks said. "It was about us and trying to stay together - number one - which we will do, and to keep working. You have to keep working through it. I just know that we have to keep fighting and keep working."
"He wasn't calm," Iverson said. "He was angry, and he had every right to be. What I got out of it is that the guys need to take a challenge to make this team better. He talked about this bad time were going through and how we need to stick together. It's very important for us to stay together as a unit."
Salmons scored six points and was not particularly effective on defense. Korver, who came off the bench for the first time this season on the night where his "Bobblehead" likeness was handed out, scored eight points.