Nets Hammer Cavaliers In Cleveland, Set Franchise Record For Road Wins
CLEVELAND (AP) — There have been plenty of firsts for the Nets during their rookie season in Brooklyn after so many years over in New Jersey.
On Wednesday night, they got another milestone.
Deron Williams dunked.
“I didn’t really plan it,” Williams said. “It’s something that happened.”
It’s been that way all season for Brooklyn, which ended an eight-game road trip by crushing the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-95, giving the Nets a record for road wins in a season.
Williams scored 24 points in 27 minutes and the Nets shot 83 percent (15 of 18) in the second quarter, when they outscored the Cavs 38-16 and opened a 30-point lead without much of a fight. Brooklyn’s 21 road wins are the most for the franchise, which moved to the New York City borough this season.
“That’s really significant,” said interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who took over when Avery Johnson was fired Dec. 28. “I’m really proud of them. They deserve it. That’s a hell of a job.”
MarShon Brooks made his first 10 shots and finished with a career-high 27 points for the Nets, who haven’t played at home since March 17 because the circus is at Barclays Center.
There’s something of a carnival going on in Cleveland. The Cavaliers have lost 10 straight amid speculation about coach Byron Scott’s future.
Following the game, a disenchanted Scott lamented his team’s lack effort in the first half. New Jersey scored more points (38) in the second quarter than Cleveland (36) had in the first 24 minutes.
“I’m disappointed,” Scott said. “I really am. After the effort we had in Atlanta (a 102-94 loss), to come back and play this way, I’m very disappointed. We just didn’t show any life. The energy, the effort wasn’t there — for whatever reason.”
Williams made three 3-pointers and Brooklyn scorched the nets during a dazzling 12 minutes of marksmanship in the second quarter. With virtually every shot a swish, the Nets outscored the Cavs 28-8 over the final 7:17 to take a 66-36 halftime lead.
The Nets shot 73 percent (27 of 37) in the first half, when almost everything they hoisted toward the rim dropped through. Brooks surpassed his season high for points by halftime and Williams even recorded his first dunk this season, driving past several Cavs acting like statues.
Before Williams threw one down, 38-year-old Jerry Stackhouse cut to the basket and dunked over two Cleveland defenders.
Williams joked that Stackhouse’s jam motivated him.
“He inspired me,” Williams said. “To see a 38-year-old get a dunk, now I’ve got a dunk on the season.”
Despite playing without injured starters Joe Johnson (heel) and Gerald Wallace (foot), the playoff-bound Nets closed their 17-day trip by making some history. By going 5-3 on the trip they reached 21 road wins, eclipsing the previous team record set last season and in 2005-06.
With only three road games left, the Nets have clinched their first winning road record since joining the NBA in 1976. Brooklyn also has 43 overall wins, the Nets’ most since winning 49 in `05-’06.
Williams made four 3-pointers, added eight assists and didn’t play the final 15 minutes as Carlesimo got a chance to rest his road-weary crew heading into an important home game with Chicago on Thursday. Brooklyn is trying to hold off the Bulls and Atlanta Hawks for the No. 4 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“I would have taken a one-pointer (win), no questions asked when the game started,” Carlesimo said. “To get a win where we were able to rest guys, you probably couldn’t have written a better script.”
Reggie Evans had 18 rebounds and Brooks Lopez scored 14 for the Nets, whose reserves allowed the score to become more respectable in the fourth.
For the young Cavs, the season can’t end soon enough.
Cleveland has been ravaged by injuries, but it’s tough to make excuses for a team that continues to come out flat, plays little or no defense and has blown big leads. Scott, in his third season, is under contract for one more year. The club picked up his 2013-14 option before this season.
During their 10-game slide — the club’s longest since dropping a league record 26 in a row in 2010-11 — the Cavs blew a 27-point lead at home to Miami, lost by 38 at Houston and had three other losses by at least 18.
Scott was asked if he was afraid of losing his job.
“Not really,” he said. “I’ve always had the attitude, `Whatever happens, happens.”‘
Cavs All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, playing his second game after missing eight with a shoulder injury, scored 16. Marreese Speights had 16 and 10 rebounds.
Like his coach, Irving blamed the Cavs’ lack of energy at the start.
“Things went from bad to worse and once we got down we just stopped doing our whole game plan,” he said. “It just went down the drain.”
Irving didn’t want to address whether any of his teammates have quit on Scott.
“I think you should ask them,” he said. “I’m not going to be the one to answer that.”
Has Irving given up?
“Have I checked out? No,” he said. “I’m out here playing with basically still a sprained AC joint and with not a care in the world because I just want to play. I haven’t checked out. That thought has never crossed my mind.”
Notes: Wallace was a late scratch after being hurt Saturday in Brooklyn’s loss at Utah. … Williams has 153 3-pointers this season, third most in team history. … Carelsimo expects Johnson, the Nets’ third-leading scorer who has missed five straight, to play Thursday against the Bulls. … Cavs rookie G Dion Waiters hasn’t played since March 20 because of loose cartilage in his knee. The Cavs are hoping he can avoid an arthroscopic procedure.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)