Improving Nets Take On Sixers
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(AP) – The Philadelphia 76ers have won four of five and are coming off an impressive bounce-back victory, just another sign that they’ve put their woeful start behind them.
Figuring out how to be more consistent away from home wouldn’t hurt either.
The 76ers try to record rare back-to-back road wins Wednesday night as they seek a seventh straight victory over the improving New Jersey Nets, who have lost once in their last six at the Prudential Center.
Philadelphia (21-26) came up short in its attempt for a season-high fourth consecutive win Friday in very discouraging fashion. The 76ers led Memphis by 21 late in the third quarter but collapsed, surrendering 42 points in the final 12 minutes en route to a 99-94 loss.
That made it imperative for them to rebound quickly, and it happened Sunday. Andre Iguodala scored 24 points, Thaddeus Young added 21 off the bench and Philadelphia shot 55.1 percent in a 110-99 win over visiting Denver.
“The team I know I have had all year showed up once again today,” coach Doug Collins said. “That is a team that is incredibly resilient, professional, hardworking, competitive, and that really cares every night.
“I thought tonight they took ownership of the team better than they have all year long.”
The 76ers have gone 14-4 in their last 18, but they haven’t been able to solve their season-long road woes. Philadelphia won in its latest stop away from home Wednesday, beating Toronto, but it lost five in a row before that and is 6-18 in away games.
The Sixers have won back-to-back contests once in their last 39 road games.
Perhaps a visit to New Jersey (15-34) will get the Sixers on the right track. They’ve won six straight against the Nets overall – though guard Devin Harris missed all four meetings last season – including three low-scoring contests on the road. Philadelphia didn’t score more than 83 points in those three games, but New Jersey failed to reach 80.
The Nets shot 34.1 percent in an 82-77 loss to the Sixers at the Prudential Center on Dec. 14.
That was New Jersey’s eighth loss in 10 games in their new home, but it’s been tough to beat the Nets in Newark over the past six weeks. They have gone 8-3 in their last 11 home games and earned their most impressive victory in that stretch Monday.
A night after the 76ers beat the Nuggets, New Jersey got 27 points from Brook Lopez and a career-high 18 assists from Harris in a 115-99 victory over Denver.
The Nets are 5-3 since owner Mikhail Prokhorov ended trade talks regarding Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony.
“Everyone had that chip on their shoulder,” said swingman Anthony Morrow, who scored 18 points and went 6 of 6 from the field. “You could kind of see the look in guys’ eyes even this morning at shootaround.”
New Jersey’s recent resurgence has plenty to do with the offensive revival of Lopez. The third-year center averaged 11.0 points in his first four January games, but scored 24.7 over his final 11.
Lopez has averaged 19.3 points in the six consecutive losses to the Sixers.
The Nets’ biggest concern Wednesday should be Jrue Holiday. The Philadelphia point guard has averaged 19.3 points, 8.3 assists and 57.9 percent shooting in the 76ers’ three straight wins over New Jersey.
Updated February 1, 2011
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