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Johnson, Nets top struggling Sixers
Brooklyn, NY (Sports Network) - Joe Johnson scored 22 points and the Brooklyn Nets halted a three-game losing streak with a 95-92 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in a battle of slumping Atlantic Division clubs from the Barclays Center.
Johnson made good on 3-of-5 attempts from three-point range to pace a balanced Brooklyn scoring attack. Deron Williams added 16 points and both Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez finished with 14 for the Nets, who briefly broke open a tie game with a 14-6 run over a five-minute stretch in the fourth quarter and held on down the stretch.
"I thought we played with a lot more intensity and had a lot more fun," Johnson said. "We had a great practice and carried it over to the game."
Jrue Holiday, playing for the second time since returning from a four-game absence due to a sprained left foot, amassed 24 points and nine assists for Philadelphia. Thaddeus Young put up 18 points and 10 rebounds in the setback, the Sixers' sixth in their last seven outings.
Philadelphia never led since owning a 12-11 edge with four minutes left in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 10 points during the game, but slowly chipped away at the deficit and forged a 69-69 deadlock after Holiday buried a 26-footer 55 seconds into the final period.
The Nets countered with an 8-2 spurt, however, with Keith Bogans following C.J. Watson layup off a Sixers turnover with a 3-pointer that put Brooklyn up 77-71 with just under seven minutes to go.
Another Bogans basket from beyond the arc would push Brooklyn's lead to 86-78 with 3:24 left to play, and the Nets maintained an eight-point cushion into the final minute before staving off one last Philadelphia charge.
"Just getting a stop or one little steal here or there could have changed the game," Holiday said.
Three-pointers from Holiday and Dorell Wright highlighted a 7-1 Sixers sequence, with Wright's bucket pulling Philadelphia within 92-90 with 9.6 seconds still on the clock. The Nets hit 3-of-4 foul shots around a layup from the Sixers' Evan Turner, however, to prevail.
Philadelphia roared out to a 12-4 advantage to begin the contest, but the Nets answered with an 18-0 surge to go ahead by double digits late in the first quarter. Lopez poured in six points during the tear, with Bogans chipping in five.
The Sixers closed the gap over the latter stages of the first half and trimmed the differential to two by the break, when a Holiday layup followed by a pair of Young free throws brought Philadelphia within 43-41.
The game remained tight all throughout the third quarter, with the Nets taking a 69-64 lead into the fourth after Johnson sank a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left. Philadelphia then scored the first five points of the final frame to draw even.
Philadelphia had won six in a row on the road against the Nets coming into the game ... The Sixers have now dropped six straight away games for the first time since an eight-game slide from Nov. 10-Dec. 3, 2010 ... Philadelphia had a 16-2 advantage in second-chance points on the afternoon ... Wallace added nine rebounds and a season-best six assists for Brooklyn.
12/23 20:34:46 ET