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Livingston, Nets shut down 76ers

4 min read
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NEW YORK — Like a pitcher on the verge of a no-hitter, Shaun Livingston doesn’t want to think about the streak he is on.

Still, there is no denying the Brooklyn Nets guard is playing some of the best basketball of his career.

On Monday night, he did a little bit of everything to help lead the Nets to a 108-102 win over the Philadelphia 76ers at the Barclays Center.

“I’m trying not to jinx it and think about,” Livingston said. “It’s a situation where I know where I’ve come from mentally as well. I just want to continue to play with the same confidence. I give credit to (coach) Jason (Kidd) as well because I talk to him every day, and just getting a chance to pick his brain gives me confidence.”

Livingston, who seven years ago suffered a debilitating knee injury, lit up the stat sheet Monday with 13 points, eight assists, a career-high seven steals and six rebounds in a shade less than 37 minutes.

“I was just trying to be active in the passing lanes,” Livingston said. “I’ve been on the wing, obviously guarding some of the better scores. I was just trying to be active, be disruptive, help my teammates and be in the right spots on defense.”

Livingston was the defensive catalyst for the Nets, who had 15 thefts, becoming the first team in the NBA this season to record 13 or more steals in three straight games. It is the fourth time in franchise history the Nets did so, and the first time since 1990.

Veteran forward Kevin Garnett had a season-high five blocks, becoming the 18th player in NBA history and second active player to record 2,000 career blocked shots. He added six points and seven rebounds.

“The guys are executing the game plan,” Kidd said. “It’s team defense, their hands are active.”

Guard Paul Pierce scored a game-high 25 points, guard Deron Williams had 21 points and six assists, and forward Mirza Teletovic added 20 off the bench for the Nets. Brooklyn (21-25) snapped a three-game losing streak despite being short-handed because of injuries.

“Today was especially tough because we didn’t have a lot of players,” Teletovic said. “The starting five got out, and on the bench there were like three people left. It’s very important we pulled together, everybody talked to each other and just helped out to get a win.”

Philadelphia rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams scored 21 points, guard Tony Wroten had 18 points and six rebounds, forward Thaddeus Young had 17 points, and swingman James Anderson added 12 for Philadelphia, which committed 26 turnovers en route to its third consecutive defeat and sixth in seven games.

“I can’t, I wish I could, you know,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said when asked to explain the 76ers’ 26 turnovers, which led to 32 points for the Nets. “It continues to haunt us. We have to get more responsible with the ball. I have to do a better job.”

The 76ers (15-34) trailed by as many as 19 in the second half, but they stormed back to pull within two points twice late in the fourth quarter.

“Anytime we start taking care of the ball and playing each and every position like it’s very valuable to the team, it’s easy for us to get back in games like this,” Young said. “They’re a very good team, very solid defensive team with KG anchoring their defense.”

The Nets responded each time — first with an 18-footer by Williams and a Teletovic layup as he was fouled. His three-point play gave Brooklyn a 102-95 lead with 2:59 remaining.

Anderson buried a 3-pointer to bring the 76ers within 104-102 with 22.7 seconds left, but Pierce and Livingston each knocked down two free throws in the final seconds to seal the win for Brooklyn.

NOTES: Brooklyn’s Jason Kidd was selected the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. “It’s a very nice recognition, but it’s for those guys who are playing and those guys are playing very well right now,” he said. … G Joe Johnson (right knee tendinitis), F Andray Blatche (bruised left hip) and F Andrei Kirilenko (sore right calf) were out for the Nets. … After handling personal business in Boston, G Michael Carter-Williams returned to the 76ers’ lineup. … Philadelphia coach Brett Brown is targeting late February/early March for C Nerlens Noel’s NBA debut. The 6-foot-11 rookie, who is recovering from left knee surgery, is able to participate in limited on-court work. “I hope he never has this opportunity again, but we’ve taken advantage of it and I’m proud of his commitment to it, his buy in, and I think we’re starting to see results.”

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Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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