for this game

Speights' late 3-point play keeps Nets winless

Nov 12, 2009 - 4:10 AM By TOM CANAVAN AP Sports Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.(AP) -- The Philadelphia 76ers gave the Nets every chance to end their franchise-worst start and New Jersey just wouldn't take it.

Marreese Speights, however, didn't turn down the opportunity to make the 76ers a winner.

Speights converted a go-ahead three-point play with 1:10 to play and the Nets missed three chances to take the lead in the final minute as the 76ers posted an 82-79 victory Wednesday night, making the Nets winless in eight games.

"This was a very big win," said Thaddeus Young, who led Philadelphia with 20 points. "We definitely didn't want to lose three in a row and we definitely didn't want to give them their first win. We didn't want to be the only team they beat. When a team hasn't won like that, it's a trap game and we didn't want to fall into the trap."

The 76ers came close.

Not only did New Jersey miss three shots in the final minute, point guard Rafer Alston threw to ball right to Young on an inbounds play with 3.9 seconds to go after a miscommunication with Bobby Simmons.

"What more can you say," said center Brook Lopez, who led New Jersey with 23 points and 14 rebounds. "We're right there at the end of the game and a couple of plays didn't go our way. We didn't close it out. We were right there again with eight guys so. We definitely fought our hardest."

The play the Nets will remember is Lopez's drive to the basket with about 14 seconds to play and Philadelphia ahead 80-79. He missed the shot after seemingly being hit on the arm by Sixers center Samuel Dalembert.

"I spun. I got stuck deep under the basket," Lopez said. "That's why it got wedged in between the backboard and the rim. If I would have just started my move higher, I would have been all right."

Nets coach Lawrence Frank understood the no-call.

"When things sometimes don't go your way, you don't get that play and you don't get that call," he said.

Dalembert refused to say whether he got a piece of Lopez, who had given New Jersey a 79-77 lead with two free throws with 1:26 to play.

"I anticipated that play," he said. "I knew he wanted to go into the middle, so I invited him to go there. I then cut it off and used it to my advantage. It was a nice play for all of us."

Dalembert was fouled with 12.2 seconds to go but only hit the second shot leaving Philadelphia ahead 81-79.

After a time out, the Nets put the ball in play and rookie Terrence Williams had a wide-open 3-pointer from the right corner bounce off the rim.

Still New Jersey wasn't done. Young made only one free throw with 5.7 seconds left and the Nets got a final chance after with just under 5 seconds to go and they threw it away.

Speights made an outstanding play on his winner, which came with the Sixers down 79-77. He followed a miss by Young and converted his three-point play.

"I had a sense that the shot was going to go long, so I boxed out and got to where the ball was coming," said Speights, who finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. "I tried to get the rebound and made the shot and finished it."

Philadelphia coach Eddie Jordan said Speights was big off the bench.

"He has great swag, great confidence right now," Jordan said. "He's a terrific shooter and he was able to also finish inside. He was making plays. His confidence is soaring."

Trenton Hassell, who had 13 points, missed a drive to the basket just seconds later. But the 76ers gave the Nets another chance when Andre Iguodala missed a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, and then was called for a charging foul with 21.7 seconds to go after Philadelphia had gotten a long rebound on his earlier miss.

New Jersey didn't convert.

Iguodala finished with nine points, nine rebounds and six assists on 4 of 14 shooting, while Louis Williams had 10 points for Philadelphia, which shot 39 percent from the field.

NOTES: The start was the first for Nets rookie Terrence Williams. He had 10 points and 12 rebounds. ... Frank got a technical for walking the length of the court to argue a non-call after a turnover by Alston in the third quarter led to a Philadelphia layup. ... Despite having only eight players, forward Sean Williams did not play for New Jersey. ... The 76ers are playing five games in seven days.