NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Avery Johnson could handle the Philadelphia 76ers having their way with the New Jersey Nets again.
When the officials did it, the mild-mannered Johnson lost it and got tossed for the first time as the Nets’ coach. It turned out to be the most memorable moment of the 76ers’ 106-92 victory on Wednesday night that also featured Jrue Holiday’s first career triple-double.
Johnson, who had not gotten a technical all season, picked up two in a matter of seconds after the officiating crew of Tom Washington, Brent Barnaky and John Goble failed to call a foul after Nets point guard Devin Harris was stopped cold by Philadelphia power forward Elton Brand near the foul line on a drive to the basket.
“In the first half, I thought Devin made one or two drives and just didn’t get rewarded for his hard effort,” said Johnson, who was tossed by Barnaky. “The same thing happened in the third quarter. It was the same situation, the same person. I just had a difference of opinion.”
Replays showed Brand never touched the ball in stopping Harris. He later stripped him of the ball and players on both teams stood and waited for a call.
When none was made, Meeks went the other way for a layup.
Johnson lost it and went after Barnaky, getting two quick technicals and an ejection. Assistant Sam Mitchell finished up the game.
Johnson would not say exactly what was said. His post-game version for the media was that he told the official:
“Maybe next time we’ll get it right,” Johnson said, who was serenaded by chants of “Avery, Avery, Avery” by fans at the Prudential Center.
The ejection came late in a Sixers’ run that turned a manageable deficit into a 21-point lead that gave Philadelphia its fifth win in six games and third in as many against New Jersey.
Backup guard Lou Williams scored 26 points and Holiday had 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Andre Iguodala also added 16 points and Brand had 15 and 10 rebounds.
“I guess it just kind of came to me,” Holiday said of the triple-double. “Every loose ball, every rebound, it just kind of came to me. You saw Andre and Spencer (Hawes), you saw them running. If they’re running, I’m going to pass it to them.”
Harris, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries all had 16 points for New Jersey, which lost for only the second time in its last seven home games.
Leading by nine at the half, Philadelphia took command early in the third quarter when Meeks and Hawes scored all the points in the big run that turned the game into a 69-48 laugher.
Meeks started the run with a three-point play and a 3-pointer, and Hawes hit an alley-oop on a pass from Holiday for a 61-46 lead.
After Travis Outlaw scored inside for New Jersey, there were couple of possessions before Johnson got tossed.
Harris was trying to dribble near the foul line and was stopped cold by Brand, who seemed to paw him with both hands to the chest.
“I thought it was definitely a foul,” Harris said. “Obviously that got coach a little excited to get his first couple of technicals. Obviously, he’s very supportive. It kind of jump started us but we didn’t have enough to finish the comeback.”
New Jersey was able to cut the lead to single digits a couple of times the rest of the way, but Philadelphia always seemed to make a big play, getting a three-point play and a 3-point field goal from Williams late in the third quarter and a three-point play by Evan Turner also late in the third.
“I think we’re doing a better job of closing games out,” Williams said. “To be successful, we’re going to have to continue to do that.”
Notes: The Sixers have won two in a row on the road, pushing their road record to 7-18. … Philadelphia had 35 fastbreak points, compared to 8 for New Jersey. … The Sixers were 18 of 18 from the free throw line. … Nets rookie Derrick Favors had 11 rebounds. … Hawes had a game-high 12 boards.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)