Nets bounce back in big way, crush Magic by 39 points
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Deron Williams and Joe Johnson sat side by side on the Nets' bench midway through the fourth quarter, sharing a chuckle with sage veteran Jerry Stackhouse.
Finally, the Nets could enjoy a laugher, precisely what the doctor ordered after losing their previous two games in brutal fashion.
They dominated the punchless Magic from start to finish Friday night, never taking their foot off the accelerator in a 107-68 pasting before a subdued Amway Center crowd of 17,532.
The Nets were efficient in virtually every facet, putting together their most complete victory of the season. "We needed it," Williams said after Brooklyn let a 22-point lead get away against the Timberwolves and was blown out by the Heat earlier this week.
"It was a good way to respond to the last two and come out and win this one handily,'' Williams added. "We did a lot of great things on defense, and while they are missing a lot of guys, it was still a good win for us, just for the morale of the team. We played the right way."
Brook Lopez, perhaps a bit motivated to show the Magic what it could've had if it had decided to pull the trigger on a Dwight Howard deal in the offseason, was aggressive down low and gave the Nets (2-2) the inside presence they had been lacking. He blocked three shots in the first half, helping lock down the interior with Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans.
Orlando (2-3) didn't even take its first free throws until Gustavo Ayo was fouled driving to the basket with 2:35 remaining in the third quarter.
"I was just focused on running in transition and getting deep seals," Lopez said. "Giving the guards a target where they could throw the ball, and defensively I wanted to be that last line of defense where if they get to the basket, I'm the wall and my guards can trust me that if they get beat, I'll be there."
The Nets took control in the second quarter, mostly on the strength of its bench -- Stackhouse in particular. The Nets outscored the Magic 31-19 in the quarter and led 50-36 at halftime. Stackhouse proved he still has something left in those 38-year-old legs, pumping in 11 points in 8:55 of action. That matched his season high during the 2010-11 campaign.
"I've been playing and I've been practicing," Stackhouse said, "and I've been waiting for my opportunity."
The Nets had five players score in double figures. Andray Blatche had 15 points and nine rebounds. Lopez had 14 and 10, Johnson had 13 points and Williams scored 12.
E'Twaun Moore led Orlando with 18.
"We can't take too much from this game," Johnson said. "We may not be as good as a 40-point victory, but I know damn well we aren't as bad as we were in Miami the other night. We've just got to keep grinding, keep working and just try to get better."
Notes & quotes: MarShon Brooks sat out after injuring his left ankle in freakish fashion. He rolled his ankle on Blatche's foot during a walk-through at the Nets' shootaround yesterday. "It is kind of frustrating," he said. "I'm finally starting to play well, get some shots to fall and this happens. But it's a part of the game . . . I'll be all right, though."