Ex-Sixers get revenge as Nets snap skid
Okafor, Stauskas contribute to Brooklyn's win over Philadelphia
Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell played the starring roles.
But Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas savored this win most of all for the Brooklyn Nets.
Dinwiddie scored 27 points and Russell added 22 off the bench Wednesday night as the Nets ended a season high-tying, four-game losing streak with a 116-108 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in front of 15,577 fans at Downtown’s Barclays Center.
“They got some talent over there and for us to get any win in this league is definitely a start,” noted Russell, who played his best game since returning from a knee injury that cost him two months of his first season here in Brooklyn.
“So hopefully we can capitalize on it and keep building.”
Okafor and Stauskas, both of whom came here in the Dec. 7 deal that sent Trevor Booker to the City of Brotherly Love, combined for just 11 points in 32 minutes against their former squad.
However, both played integral roles in what proved to be the tightly contested game’s decisive run.
With Brooklyn (19-33) trailing by a point with just under nine minutes remaining in regulation, Stauskas sparked an 11-0 spurt with a 25-footer that gave the Nets the lead for good, 94-92.
Okafor, a former No. 3 overall pick who never quite panned out in Philly, capped the run by hitting a 13-foot, running floater in the lane that made it 102-92 with 7:08 to play.
“We just knew we needed to win,” said Okafor, who finished with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting with three rebounds and a blocked shot as he continues to build strength and endurance after spending almost all of his time with the 76ers riding the bench this season.
“We lost last night to the Knicks and we know we were desperate for a win and we were able to execute and pull it out.”
While initially staying away from commenting on beating the team that sent him packing after two-plus seasons, Okafor did finally confess that this contest held special meaning for himself and Stauskas.
“If I were to say that that win didn’t feel great, I would be lying,” he ceded. “So it felt awesome to be able to pull it out, and for me and Nik to be able to go out there and help win was great.”
It was even greater for head coach Kenny Atkinson, who went to the whip following Tuesday night’s 111-95 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, imploring his team to dig deeper and find a way to compete harder for four full quarters.
“We’ve got guys with a lot of pride and I think they always seem to bounce back after a tough loss or a poor performance, quite honestly,” Atkinson said.
“Tonight, I thought all the thing we talked about pregame, you know we were more competitive, more together and did a good job of sharing the ball.”
Rookie Jarrett Allen continued to shine in his second consecutive start, pouring in 16 points and pulling down 12 rebounds while DeMarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe added 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Nets, who will host the Los Angeles Lakers here Friday.
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