Sixers top Nets to claim final playoff spotApr 24, 2012 - 4:21 AM Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia 76ers finally locked up a postseason berth that seemed inevitable two months ago and spoiled the Nets' last home game in New Jersey with a 105-87 victory.
The Nets are moving to Brooklyn at the new Barclays Center next season after spending 35 years in New Jersey. They went 9-24 in their final home slate at Prudential Center and will end the season in Toronto on Thursday.
"I think it finally hit me during the course of the game that this was it, with us playing here in New Jersey," Nets head coach Avery Johnson said. "Great fan support tonight. They came out, they cheered us on, and our guys just ran of gas in the fourth."
Philadelphia will play its final two games simply to improve its playoff position, as its first three-game winning streak in more than a month locked up the final Eastern Conference spot and secured the team's first winning season since the 2004-05 campaign.
Thaddeus Young scored all 15 of his points in the second half after New Jersey made it close, while Elton Brand and Jrue Holiday also chipped in 15 points apiece for the Sixers.
MarShon Brooks led the Nets with 18 points, and Kris Humphries added 16 points and 12 rebounds in the club's fifth straight loss.
After winning 20 of their first 29 games, the Sixers struggled over the final two-plus months. Their current 14-21 stretch has them tied for seventh in the East with the Knicks, who own the tiebreaker.
With a trip to the postseason at last on the line, Philadelphia came out and shot 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the field in the first quarter and did not turn the ball over. Lou Williams' 18-footer just before the buzzer yielded a 31-18 cushion, and it was still a double-digit margin, 53-43, at halftime.
Using a 13-2 run, the Nets cut their deficit to 63-62, but a Sixers timeout silenced the suddenly boisterous crowd and appeared to breathe life into Young, who scored 10 points over the final 3:26 of the third.
Young's bucket in the closing seconds resulted in a 76-68 game, and the visitors controlled most of the final 12 minutes.
Leading 94-85 down the stretch, Holiday, who took an inadvertent elbow to the face and suffered a laceration on his nose at the end of the first half, hit a pair of jumpers to rebuild a double-digit lead that was never threatened.
"This was a game we definitely needed to get. ... We just wanted to get it over with and finally clinch," Young said.
At halftime, the Nets honored some of their former players, such as Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson and Kerry Kittles...The Nets compiled an NBA record of 1186-1635 (.420) while in New Jersey...The Sixers won their final five games in New Jersey...Humphries has 29 double-doubles this season...The Sixers are 17-3 when scoring 100-plus points...New Jersey was without star point guard Deron Williams (calf) for the fourth straight game...Andre Iguodala recorded 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Philadelphia.
- PHILADELPHIA: 105
NEW JERSEY: 87
Apr 23 9:54 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 76
NEW JERSEY: 68
End of 3rd
Apr 23 9:24 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 53
NEW JERSEY: 43
Apr 23 8:36 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 31
NEW JERSEY: 18
End of 1st
Apr 23 8:05 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 0
NEW JERSEY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 23 7:41 PM
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