Brook Lopez leads Nets to rout of Jazz
They had talked about making sure they got it together, taking care of business the way championship teams do.
With the stench of their disappointing defeat Sunday in Orlando still somewhat fresh, the Nets couldn't wait to get back at it following Monday's intensely focused practice, wanting to erase that nightmarish performance.
Enter the Jazz. Exit the Nets -- with a much-needed victory.
Maybe having learned their lesson about the dangers of taking some less-talented teams too lightly, the Nets mashed their foot on the gas pedal and burned rubber all over the Jazz Tuesday night. Things were never in doubt in their wire-to-wire 104-88 win, a game in which the Barclays Center sellout crowd was treated to a laugher.
In a darkened postgame locker room, the players presented Jason Kidd with the game ball to commemorate his first real win as coach, something that caught Kidd off guard.
"It was great," Joe Johnson said. "To get it here at home in Brooklyn is probably even better. But it was a congratulations to him as a head coach. You have to start somewhere."
How much of a blowout was this one? The Nets (2-2) were able to rest their starters for the entire fourth quarter, allowing Kidd easily to manage the minutes of his veterans as they continue their process of jelling on the fly and cementing a home-court advantage that has teams fearing the atmosphere when they set foot in Brooklyn.
"No disrespect to Orlando," Kevin Garnett said. "They played well. They beat us. End of story. But at home, obviously, we have to protect our home. We are trying to establish something here at home. But any teams that we feel like we're better than, we should go out and beat, and that's no disrespect to any of the teams out here.
"Utah is well-coached with players that play really hard, that are NBA players. But when they are playing here in Brooklyn, along with everybody else, they've got to know that they are playing here in Brooklyn -- along with everybody else. And that's what we are trying to establish here."
Brook Lopez was a beast, constantly having his way down on the low blocks. He was decisive with his moves and powered his way inside, throwing down a few thunderous dunks and refusing to be denied. Lopez was an efficient 10-for-13 shooting, pacing the Nets with a game-high 27 points to go with seven rebounds, a pair of assists and two steals. "I just worked on getting good position," Lopez said. "My guys got me when I was right around the basket. They gave me easy looks and I just had to go up and try to finish."
Said Kidd: "Brook was great tonight. We played through him. It was just all about getting the ball in the paint and going from there."
Lopez's effort spearheaded a fluid, balanced offensive attack. The Nets' lone starter not to crack double digits in the scoring column was Garnett, who had four points and four rebounds. The Nets shot 57.9 percent from the floor and a blistering 57.1 percent on three-pointers through the first three quarters. They had excellent ball movement and consistently swung it to the open man, staying away from the isolation one-on-one plays that led to so many bad shots just some 48 hours earlier.
"We don't have anybody that's worried about scoring," said Deron Williams, who finally beat the Jazz for the first time in five tries. "That's the beautiful thing about this team. Nobody really cares if they score 10, if they score 20, if they score two. We just want to win."