THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Updated: Sunday, February 7, 2016, 2:30 AM
Sixers guard T.J. McConnell celebrates as Philadelphia beats the Nets Sunday.
PHILADELPHIA — One night after putting up a season high for points, the Nets struggled to score in the first quarter Saturday. And while they would eventually recover and even storm ahead in the fourth, their troublesome start still stung after a 103-98 loss to the 76ers.
“When you get consistent how you play, then we’ll start turning these games into wins,” Nets interim coach Tony Brown said. “I commend them for getting back in it, but obviously there’s still a lot of work we have to do.”
After lighting up the Kings for 128 points in Friday’s home win, the Nets mustered just 12 points while sleepwalking through the first quarter Saturday. Brooklyn turned the ball over 11 times and missed 12 of 17 shots while falling behind 24-12 after one.
“That hurt us and that triggered down through the whole game,” said Joe Johnson, who had nine points. “We never got in sync.”
The Nets trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half and were down 69-64 entering the fourth quarter. But Brooklyn picked things up and Markel Brown’s third 3-pointer of the contest with 6:59 remaining gave Brooklyn its biggest lead, 86-81.
The 76ers scored eight of the next 10 and went back up on Hollis Thompson’s 3 from the left wing that made it 89-88 with 4:44 left. Philadelphia’s lead was still one point once when Robert Covington drained a 3-pointer with 1:16 to play that made it 97-96. Both teams missed field goals on ensuing possessions before McConnell’s steal with 30 seconds left led to Nerlens Noel’s dunk with 21.3 ticks remaining that made it 99-96. It was enough for Philadelphia to earn its seventh win in the last 20 games. Brooklyn dropped to 4-19 on the road.
Thaddeus Young scored all 22 of his points after halftime for Brooklyn, which was trying to win consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 10. Young added 10 rebounds and Brook Lopez had 17 points for the Nets (13-39).
T.J. McConnell, filling in for injured starting point guard Ish Smith, tied his career-high with 17 points for the Sixers (8-43). Jahlil Okafor had 22 points and 17 rebounds and Noel added 18 points.
Tony Brown said prior to the game that there is no firm date set yet for the debut of Chris McCullough. The rookie was active for the second straight game on Saturday and could play as early as Monday at home against the Nuggets. … Philadelphia honored the late Darryl Dawkins with video tributes, a halftime interview with former teammates World B. Free and Bobby Jones and posters to the first 15,000 fans. Dawkins played the first seven seasons of his 14-year career with the 76ers, who drafted him fifth in 1975, before joining the Nets for five seasons.