Nets beat 76ers thanks to big edge in free throws

Posted: December 24, 2012

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - If you ask the 76ers about their struggles these days, their feeling is that the referees are missing a good game. Or perhaps they have a penchant for blinking at the most inopportune times.

With the help of 20 additional trips to the free-throw line, the Brooklyn Nets beat the Sixers, 95-92, Sunday at the Barclays Center.

The Sixers (13-15) played Brooklyn even in nearly all categories, but they lost for the sixth straight time on the road. It is their longest road slump since they lost eight straight in November and December 2010.

Starting with Wednesday's game in Memphis, they will play seven more games on the road before they see the Wells Fargo Center again.

On Sunday, though, it was impossible for the Sixers to overcome the Nets' advantage at the line. The Sixers made 8 of 10 free throws. Brooklyn (14-12) made 21 of 30.

"It's discouraging when it happens right in front of them," Sixers forward Evan Turner said of the officials. "You know, it's just crazy. We went to the line, what, six or seven times, but it's 20 more the other way.

"You don't really worry about it but sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh about it," added Tuner, who said the Sixers are trying to initiate contact. "It doesn't make any sense when you initiate the contact and wait for them to make the call but nothing happens."

Turner played almost 42 minutes and finished with 15 points and seven rebounds but did not go to the line once. Jrue Holiday, who led the Sixers with 24 points and nine assists with just two turnovers, attempted the lion's share of his team's free throws: He made 3 of 4.

"I feel like it's up to the refs," Holiday said. "The refs are going to call what they are going to call and there is no point in arguing it because they are not going to overturn it. I respect Coach for speaking up about it. But as players we can't really argue about it."

Coach Doug Collins ran off a litany of things the Sixers did right, from grabbing more rebounds (49-43), to matching the Nets in three-pointers made (eight) to notching 14 more second-chance points.

"We were minus-13 at the line and that's the difference," Collins said. "We keep telling them that getting to the line is about the moment of truth - going to the line and getting hit.

"But I have to be real careful because I don't want to give away my holiday money," said Collins, clearly watching what he said out of the fear of a fine for criticizing referees. "We've got to get in there and find a way."

All five of Brooklyn's starters scored in double figures, led by Joe Johnson's 22 points. Ten of those points came in the third quarter.

Thaddeus Young had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers.


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow @JmitchInquirer on Twitter.

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