The Skinny: Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez absolutely dominated the paint in the opening minutes, with the Nets scoring 22 of their first 25 points in the paint. Lopez finished the first quarter with 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, while Evans had a double-double after the opening frame with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brooklyn ended the first quarter on an 11-1 run and opened a 13-point lead.
The 76ers opened the second quarter on a 13-5 run to cut into the Nets’ lead, with Dorell Wright knocking down outside shots. Joe Johnson responded with a few timely buckets, and the Nets’ starters all returned to orchestrate a 14-3 run to close out the first half with an 18-point lead.
Lopez and Evans continued to dominate to start the third quarter, and the Nets did not let up, as the lead became 26. Deron Williams also got into the action with 11 points in the frame, and Brooklyn led by 23 after three.
Brooklyn got great minutes from the second unit in mostly garbage time in the fourth quarter. Even Mirza Teletovic, Tyshawn Taylor and Kris Joseph saw time in this one.
High Scorers: Lopez led all scorers with 29 points on 13-of-22 shooting and grabbed 11 boards for the double-double. For the 76ers, Nick Young led the way with 18 points on 7-of-10 from the field.
Key Stats: The Nets dominated on the interior, outscoring the Sixers 58-30 in the paint and outrebounding Philadelphia 67-34.
Who Was Hot: Evans notched his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and a game-high 24 rebounds. It was his ninth game this season with 20 or more rebounds – tops in the NBA.
Who Was Not: After putting up a few good games against the Nets this season, Spencer Hawes was held to just seven points and six rebounds, posted a -25 and was ineffective defensively trying to stop Lopez. Thaddeus Young shot just 1-of-9 from the field for three points.
Fun Fact: Lopez, Hawes and Thaddeus Young all played in the 2006 McDonald’s All-American Game.
Normally in a first half in which Deron Williams is scoreless, the Nets are in a world of trouble. But in this one, Brooklyn relied on the utter interior dominance of Evans and Lopez – who each played just three quarters.
Evans continues to amaze at both ends of the floor. Whichever Nets’ player called him out for his lack of an offensive game earlier this season really ignited a spark under him to improve, and it’s worked just in time for the playoffs.
With the win, Brooklyn won the season series over the 76ers 3-1. It’s the first time the Nets have won a season series against the Sixers since the 2008-2009 season. Five games remain for the Nets to attempt to reach the 50-win plateau this season.
Brooklyn (45-32) heads up to Boston to face the Celtics Wednesday night. The 8 p.m. game will be televised on ESPN.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.