Hot shooting by Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson helps Nets to fifth straight win
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The sleep-inducing crowd had the Nets in a trance Friday night.
They were playing as if they had taken some Nytol, allowing a Magic team that was without Jameer Nelson -- the same team they've clobbered twice already this season -- to hang around.
They found it in the second half, though. The Nets kicked it in gear after halftime, riding the hot shooting of Gerald Wallace and Joe Johnson to throttle the undermanned Magic, 98-86, before a lifeless crowd of 17,103.
Even without center Brook Lopez, who is out for at least one more game with a right foot injury, the Nets (11-4) rolled to their fifth straight victory, matching their best start in franchise history. It sends them into Saturday night's game against the Heat in Miami feeling pretty good about themselves.
Johnson paced the Nets with 22 points and shot with confidence, canning 10 of 16 attempts, including 2-for-4 from three-point range. Wallace had 20 points and really had it going from three-point range in the second half, going 4-for-5 to finish 5-for-6. Deron Williams had 11 points and seven assists.
The Nets led by just two at the break and the Magic (5-10) took a 48-45 lead early in the third. That's when the Nets rattled off a 21-6 run to seize control.
Wallace sank all four of his three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Nets take a 76-65 lead into the fourth.
"The main thing is just catch and shoot," Wallace said. "Don't even think about it. You know you are going to be in those situations, especially with these guys -- Deron, Brook, Joe -- when they draw double-teams. You've got to be ready to shoot."
Wallace was hurt and didn't play in the Nets' first meeting with the Heat (11-3), a 103-73 loss Nov. 7. So the Nets are eager to see how they stack up with the defending champs.
"We're very anxious," Williams said. "I think we're a different team this time than we were then, not just because we didn't have Gerald. We are playing a lot better. Now we don't have Brook, so we've just got to be really focused and we are going to have to play our best basketball to get a win down there."
Notes & quotes: After getting ejected in Boston for tussling with Rajon Rondo, Kris Humphries was asked if he felt vindicated when the league didn't fine him. "I didn't do anything," he said. "It's too expensive to hit someone in the NBA. I'm making money now. C'mon, man."