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Evans' huge night carries Nets past 76ers

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- There was a crowd of media around Reggie Evans in the Nets locker room, but the forward had to interrupt the questions to stretch out his arms one more time.

The 6-foot-8 Evans had just pulled down 24 rebounds and scored 17 points in the Nets' 104-83 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night at the Barclays Center when he called a halt to the talk about his tremendous effort. Evans paused to grab a crying toddler, his son R.J., who immediately cheered up once his father pulled him close.

During the game, everything Evans reached for seemed to end up in his grasp and his shots were falling, too. Before the first quarter ended, Evans had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, two assists and a steal. Entering the fourth quarter, Evans had out-rebounded the entire Philadelphia team, 24-22.

"I want to go out there and do my best to make something happen," Evans said. "We have a lot of guys who have never been in the playoffs, so you have the mindset that every game is important. The playoffs are now, every possession is going to be tough, offense, defense. I have a lot of e4xprience in the playoffs (38 games), guys like (Brook) Lopez and MarShon (Brooks) haven't. You have to ingrain it in their mind that it's now, it can't wait."

Since play-by-play statistics came into being, no Nets player has ever notched a double-double by the end of the first quarter before Evans. The last NBA player to do it was Dwight Howard, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds by the end of the first quarter against Miami last year.

Evans was so dominant that Brook Lopez's 11th double-double, a game-high 29 points to go with 11 rebounds was a side note.

"They're getting themselves ready for the playoffs," 76ers coach Doug Collins said. "Brook Lopez is tremendous, Reggie Evans' activity on the boards and Deron Williams was facilitating well."

The Nets outscored Philadelphia, 58-30, in the paint and finished with a 67-34 rebounding advantage.

"I think Reggie Evans set the tone early," Philadelphia forward Thaddeus Young said. "He had one of the best games of his career.

The chants of "Reg-gie, Reg-gie" started early in the game, and Evans did plenty to deserve the recognition. Evans posted his ninth 20-plus rebound game, which leads all NBA players.

Williams, who paced the Nets (45-32) with 30 and 32 points the previous two games, didn't score his first points until early in the third quarter. He wound up with 11 points and four assists.

"It's great when he comes out like a man possessed," Williams said of Evans. "There's been a lot of games this year where he got us going and we fed off his energy. When he's playing like that, we're tough to beat. It's become normal. He's playing at an extremely high level and, hopefully, he can continue to do it. I said before the season, when you pick someone to go to battle with you want Reg on your team."

Nick Young scored 18 points off the bench to lead Philadelphia (31-46).

Before the first quarter was over, Evans had achieved his eighth double-double of the season, helping jump-start the Nets. Evans cleared his 20th rebound with 6:13 left in the third quarter and the Nets holding a 71-50 lead.

The Nets took three out of four games from the 76ers in the season series. P.J. Carlesimo improved to 31-18 as the Nets' interim coach.

Brooklyn moved to a 31-18 lead in the first quarter behind 15 points from Lopez and 10 points and 10 rebounds by Evans. Lopez led a 13-0 surge toward the end of the first, driving for a basket, hitting an 18-foot bank shot and then driving the baseline for a reverse layup that staked Brooklyn to a 29-15 advantage.

With Williams sitting after picking up two fouls, Lopez and Evans continued to dominate the game for the Nets in the second period. Brooklyn took a 56-38 lead into the break, as Lopez collected 19 points and seven rebounds in the first two quarters and Evans had 14 points and 17 rebounds. Thanks to Evans, the Nets held a 36-16 rebounding advantage in the first half while limiting the 76ers to 34.1 percent shooting from the floor.

NOTES: Deron Williams hit one 3-pointer on Tuesday night, tying the single-season Nets record of 158 set by Kerry Kittles. ... Williams has 800 3-pointers in his career. Collins didn't hesitate when asked if he knew what the difference was in the play of Nets point guard Deron Williams from the beginning of the season to now. "Yeah, 15 to 18 less pounds," Collins said. "He made a real commitment, it's my understanding, right before the All-Star break to really get in great shape and he's done that." In the first 23 games after the All-Star break, Williams averaged 23.0 points and hit 48 percent from the floor, including 42.9 percent from 3-point range. In the 50 games before the break, Williams scored at a 16.7 rate, shot 41.3 percent from the floor and made 34.7 percent of his 3s. ... The Nets' Keith Bogans sat out with a tight lower back. ... Andrew Bynum and Andrew Richardson are both out for the 76ers with knee injuries. ... Both teams are in action on Wednesday, with the Atlanta Hawks visiting Philadelphia and the Nets heading to Boston to play the Celtics.
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