Lopez, Lin lead Brooklyn to rare rout, 141-118 over Sixers
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brooklyn’s modest upswing of late has given the beaten-down franchise a hint of belief that better seasons could be ahead.
“It helps our morale,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I think the fans can appreciate that they see progress.”
Can Brooklyn Trust the Progress?
Maybe, but the Process loyalists in Philly know the difficulty of sustaining even modest success over more than a few weeks.
Or even, at home, for more than a few possessions.
Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez each scored 16 points to lead the Nets to 141-118 rout of the 76ers on Tuesday night.
“It starts with Jeremy and Brook,” Atkinson said. “When they get other guys involved, I think it helps our offense a lot.”
Yeah, just a bit: Brooklyn had eight players hit double-digit scoring and shot 64 percent from the floor.
The 19-win Nets have been buried in last place in the NBA standings for most of the season and not even a recent surge could budge them out of the cellar.
Against the Sixers, Brooklyn scored buckets in the first half at the rapid rate of an All-Star Game. The Nets matched a franchise record for points in a first half with 81.
And yes, even the lowly Nets led at the break with that whopping total. The first-half totals: Brooklyn shot 70 percent (28 of 40), made 12 of 17 3-pointers and had 23 assists on 28 bucks. Lopez had 12 points, Sean Kilpatrick scored 13 and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 11 — with the latter two matching or topping their season scoring average.
“I’d say the way we got the shots was like, really beautiful to me,” Lin said. “Beautiful basketball. Super unselfish.”
With 4:20 left in the third, the Nets led 100-67 and would smoke the Sixers for their season-high third straight win. The Nets have won six of the last nine games and are a respectable 10-10 since March 1.
Sixers coach Brett Brown talked before the game about a season goal of finishing in the top 15 in defense. But they might struggle to hit that mark in the final week of the season. The Sixers needed the injury exception to end the season with a full roster and a once-promising middle of the season has hit a roadblock with Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington heading up the list of injured players.
Dario Saric, one of the top contenders for NBA Rookie of the Year, only scored 10 points in 19 minutes; his playing time limited by plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
“I have a minute restriction on him. You know how hard that is to administer,” Brown asked. “It’s like Joel again. In 24 minutes, how do you spend your money? How do you do it where you can end a game with Dario?”
Well, the Nets gave Saric plenty of reason to sit out the fourth.
The Nets stretched the lead early in the second when a loose ball was scooped and fed to Archie Goodwin for a big dunk that sent him crashing to the floor. Goodwin, a first-round pick in the 2013 draft out of Kentucky, impressed the Nets on a pair of 10-day contracts and was signed Tuesday to a multiyear contract.
Brooklyn’s starters took a seat in the fourth and played cheerleaders as the likes of K.J. McDaniels and Spencer Dinwiddie did the bulk of the heavy lifting.
Nets: Brooklyn’s 81 points were a record for points in the half at the Wells Fargo Center. ... The Nets’ 12 3s also set a floor record for a half. Kilpatrick hit three 3s in the half. ... Brooklyn’s largest lead was 39 points.
76ers: Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot led the Sixers with 19 points. ... The Sixers lost their fourth straight game. ... Brown was whistled for a technical foul in the third. ... Brown said a lopsided loss this late in the season was like, a “poke in the eye.”
Embiid, the rookie sensation sidelined by injury, remains in Los Angeles to rehab following surgery on his left knee (torn meniscus). Embiid missed his first two seasons with foot injuries and was limited to only 31 games this season. He was spoofed this week in The Onion with the headline, “Joel Embiid To Undergo Career-Starting Surgery.” Embiid was not present for the team photo snapped on the court before the game.
GUEST OF HONOR
Markelle Fultz, perhaps the likely No. 1 NBA draft pick out of Washington, sat courtside.
Brooklyn plays Thursday at Orlando.
The Sixers host Chicago on Thursday and finish the home slate Saturday against Milwaukee and Monday against Indiana.