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Big men dominate, Nets run past Magic 107-68

Associated Press Modified: November 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm •  Published: November 9, 2012
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Brooklyn looked inside in its first game of the season against Orlando. With Dwight Howard no longer patrolling the paint for the Magic, it was a winning strategy.

Andray Blatche had 15 points, Brook Lopez added 14 points and 10 rebounds and the Nets beat the Magic 107-68 Friday night.

"It definitely was a focus," Lopez said of getting the ball inside. "Especially coming off that tough Miami game. We wanted to come out and just hit them right away."

Brooklyn never trailed while snapping a 10-game losing streak to Orlando that dated to 2009. It enjoyed a 46-30 edge in scoring in the paint against the Magic, who traded Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers in August.

It was exactly what the Nets needed after following up their season-opening victory with back-to-back losses, including a 30-point setback Wednesday against the defending champion Heat.

"I think for us, we had a lot of veteran players out there who really know how to play. And they know where their strengths and weaknesses are," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "A lot of things that we've been harping on about our offensive and defensive game — they executed."

E'Twaun Moore led the Magic with 18 points, and Arron Afflalo finished with 12.

It was Orlando's most lopsided loss of the post-Howard era and came on the heels of a 15-point blowout at Minnesota that was equally one-sided. Friday's loss was Orlando's second-worst home loss ever.

Injuries have certainly played a role, but coach Jacque Vaughn didn't use it as a crutch to explain his team's recent shortcomings.

"You have to be committed to execution," Vaughn said. "Not every other play, not every fourth play, but every single play. You have to cut hard every single play. You have to screen every single play for us to have success. And when they are not committed, it shows."

The Nets dominated inside, with Lopez and Blatche pushing around Orlando's young front line. They also got a lift from their bench, with Brooklyn's reserves outscoring their counterparts 55-18 for the game.

Orlando lost its third straight game after starting 2-0. It also tied a franchise-low with four made free throws, compared to 16 for Brooklyn.

No Magic starters attempted a free throw Friday.

"We've got a lot to work on, defensively being the main issue," Afflalo said. "But the good thing is that we play the same team on Sunday. So I think it will be a great chance for us to see if we can truly learn from tonight. ... Hopefully we grow from tonight."

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