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Nets Snap Skid and Consume Philly Cheese Steak

Brooklyn Nets Forward Paul Pierce speaking with the media Photo Credit: Alexis Williams/What's The 411 Networks Brooklyn Nets Forward Paul Pierce speaking with the media

Following the most notable sporting event of the season in the Super Bowl, which took place in a land not too far away in the state of New Jersey; the Brooklyn Nets returned home to host the Philadelphia 76ers orchestrating a 108-102 victory on a snowy evening providing a cozy and fun-filled environment for the Brooklyn faithful.

This win progresses the Nets to 21-25 on the overall season, as they continue to work their way back to mediocrity, .500.

The Nets snapped their 3-game losing streak against a lowly opponent, all in all validating the honor that their first-year Head Coach in Jason Kidd received today in Coach of the Month, for compiling a record of 10-3 in January.

The Nets accomplished what the Broncos failed to, despite the difference in sports, circumstances and setting, a win, plain and simple.

Missing tonight's action was guard Joe Johnson suffering from tendinitis in his right patella; also C Andray Blatche, and Forward Andrei Kirilenko recorded DNP's, coach's decision. Given this scenario, the Nets needed a significant offensive contribution as thin as they appeared to be.

They received that contribution from a variety of places tonight.

From the opening tip, the Nets led throughout the majority of the first half until the 76ers reclaimed the lead for the first time this evening with 6:25 left in the second quarter, via two free-throws from 76ers guard Michael Carter Williams. This gave the Sixers a lead of 35-33 with more than 6 minutes left until halftime.

Philadelphia flashed its youth, enabling a run in which it eliminated the Nets lead early within the second quarter. However, the Nets capitalized on a back-and-forth pace later down the stretch.

An alley-oop conversion courtesy of G Shaun Livingston, assisted by F Paul Pierce and a theft by Livingston rewarding Pierce on back-to-back fast breaks pushed the Nets advantage over the Sixers, 54-49 heading into the intermission period.

The synergy established by the Nets towards the end of the first half carried over to the start of the second half as the Nets held the Sixers to within 4 points through the first four minutes.

With the increase in defensive pressure, the Nets manufactured a 13-3 run extending their lead, 67-54 with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. The run, energized collectively and individually, by G Deron Williams who caught fire in the 3rd. Williams scored 12 points in the third quarter alone, as he returned back to the starting lineup.

The Nets gained their largest lead of the game by far, up by as many as 17 points, when Journey man G Jason Terry connected for three, on the right wing with 2:37 remaining till the start of the fourth. This put the home team in front 81-64.

The 4th quarter decides the outcome of each and every organized basketball game, and like any team would, the Sixers made their run.

A strong surge by rookie of the year candidate Williams and fellow youngster G Tony Wroten combined for a series of layups and perimeter shots reducing the Nets lead to 6, 97-91 with 6:15 left until the end of regulation.

A Lavoy Allen jumper assisted by Williams from the top of the key with 3:41 remaining in the 4th, brought the Sixers within 2, 97-95, to which the Nets responded by scoring 7 straight points, capped off by F Mirza Teletovic connecting for three 97-89.

The Sixers continued to fight, and exhibited their best effort in the closing moments, only to come up short and the ball bouncing the Brooklyn way.

With 40.8 seconds remaining a loose ball that the Nets failed to claim gave the Sixers life and enough time to draw up a play that left Anderson alone in the corner for which he connected for three giving the Sixers another chance down by 2 with 22.8 seconds remaining nets 104-102.

But without leverage, the Sixers were forced to foul sending Pierce to the line, which resulted in two made free-throws and 6 seconds later a steal by Livingston and foul generated the same result in two additional free throws further advancing the Nets to a final 108-102 win over the Sixers.

Even in victory, Pierce was unsatisfied like a true champion, desiring more from his fellow teammates in the future games to come.

"You can't be happy with the way we closed the game," Pierce articulated to post game media correspondents in the Nets Locker-room.

"We gave up layups, threes," Pierce continues.

"We were up 20, up 19 and let them back in the game,..If we play like that come Thursday then we can't expect to walk away with a win."

Pierce is alluding to Thursday night's contest where the Nets will continue their home-stand in welcoming the franchise spearheading the Southwest division in the San Antonio Spurs. If the Nets want a "W" against the Spurs, a complete 48 minutes of play from the Nets is essential and required to defend their home-court.

Pierce also dished in on the inspirational play of back-court teammate Livingston who contributed 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists, as well as, getting after it defensively, a pest in the passing lanes with 7 steals. Livingston has recorded back-to-back games of six or more steals a feat not accomplished by a Net since Kendall Gill in 1999.

"He's a guy who's gaining confidence week by week," Pierce expresses to the post game media

"He believes in his ability; whatever we ask of him he's given it to us," Pierce added.

With Johnson's questionable medical status Livingston will definitely receive every opportunity to fill the void offensively and defensively in the starting unit, something he is very capable of doing acknowledged by Kidd.

"He's playing at a high level and we need him to do that," said Kidd in his post-game press conference.

"He's involved and he is in tune and we need him to do that," Kidd continued.

"Right now he's on that consistent role that we need."

Williams wasn't too shabby at all with his overall performance, pouring in the second most scoring output behind Pierce's 25 with 21 points and 6 timely assists working his way back to the starting lineup where he belongs and should remain as he is the $90 million man.

For the time being, the Nets warmed up the Barclays Center despite the wrath of the winter season. But in the end, for the Nets to sustain positive production they must get healthy with any hope of locking up the Atlantic Division.