PHILADELPHIA - Deron Williams had a reason to love this one.
Williams scored 34 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer with 26.8 seconds left in overtime, to help lift the New Jersey Nets to a 97-90 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Kris Humphries had 13 points and a season-high 19 rebounds, and Jordan Farmer added 12 points as the Nets (6-13) snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Sixers. Anthony Morrow had 16 points starting his second straight game for rookie MarShon Brooks (sore right Achilles tendon).
"Our new team motto is, 'I love it,'" Williams said. "It started off sarcastic, but now we use it for everything. I had five turnovers, but I love it."
Beating the first-place Sixers sure put Williams and his teammates in a festive mood.
"I love it," several players shouted in the locker-room.
Lou Williams led Philadelphia with 17 points. The Atlantic Division-leading Sixers (12-6) again played without starting centre Spencer Hawes (left Achilles strain) and his backup, rookie Nik Vucevic (left knee quad strain).
Jrue Holiday stole Farmer's inbound pass and scored on a driving layup to give the Sixers a 90-88 lead with 1:18 left in OT. But Deron Williams answered with a jumper to tie it. After Jodie Meeks missed at the opposite end, Williams nailed a long three. Lou Williams missed a three for the Sixers and Morrow sank a pair of free throws to seal it.
"At the end of the game, we basically put the ball in Deron's hands and said, 'Take us home,' and he did," Nets coach Avery Johnson said.
Jeered vociferously by the crowd, Humphries had one of his best all-around games. Humphries has been booed wherever the Nets play since his marriage to reality TV star Kim Kardashian ended after 72 days.
"It's motivation, man," Humphries said.
Holiday hit a three-pointer from the left corner to give the Sixers a 78-77 lead with 2:29 left. Neither team made a basket over the next 1:20 until Morrow hit a three to put the Nets up 80-78. Elton Brand answered with a short jumper to tie it at 80. Farmer missed at the other end and Young made a diving save to gather the rebound.
After the timeout, Lou Williams nailed an 18-footer over Deron Williams to put the Sixers up 82-80. But Deron Williams tied it with a slashing layup through three defenders with 1.3 to go to send it to overtime.
The Sixers have come a long way under second-year coach Doug Collins. Last season, they started 3-13 before a strong finish put them at 41-41 and sent them to the playoffs only to lose to Miami in five games.
Despite this loss, they seem headed toward their first winning season since 2004-05 when Allen Iverson was the star.
"They outplayed us in every phase," Collins said.
New Jersey used a 13-2 run to take a 59-51 lead in the third quarter. Humphries got things started for the Nets with consecutive dunks. Deron Williams made two jumpers in a row during the run. The Sixers went 6:11 without a basket in that stretch, missing several open jumpers during an 0-for-7 drought.
Shawne Williams made a rainbow three-pointer from a few feet inside halfcourt before the third-quarter buzzer sounded, giving the Nets a 66-61 lead.
Both teams looked lacklustre at the start. Without their two big men, the Sixers didn't have an answer for Humphries. He had six points and five rebounds in the first quarter and grabbed six more boards in the second.
The Nets took a 29-20 lead after a 14-4 run that stretched from late in the first quarter into the second. Morrow hit a three-pointer and a jumper toward the end of the run.
But the Sixers scored the next 11 points. Thaddeus Young hit a jumper and scored on a driving layup to give Philadelphia a 31-29 lead. The teams traded baskets the rest of the quarter and the Sixers took a 45-43 lead into halftime.
"Their record doesn't show what they're capable of doing," Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala said.
Notes: The Sixers are two games into a seven-game homestand. They are 8-2 at the Wells Fargo Center, their best home start since opening 10-0 in 2002-03. ... The Nets have only led after three quarters four times, going 4-0. ... Hawes has missed five straight games. Vucevic has sat out two in a row. ... Deron Williams had 11 assists. ... Eagles coach Andy Reid watched from a suite. Reid hasn't spoken to reporters since Philadelphia's final game on Jan. 1.
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