Nets rout Magic 97-77 for 8th straight home win
NEW YORK (AP) — Like Brooklyn bullies, the Nets love picking on the little guys.
They beat Orlando four times this season and are 17-0 against teams that were under .500 when they played them.
Now the big boys are coming to Barclays Center.
Deron Williams had 20 points and nine assists, and the Nets beat the Magic 97-77 on Monday night for their eighth straight home victory.
Brook Lopez scored 16 points and Joe Johnson had 13 for the Nets, who tied a franchise record with their 11th victory in January and can break it when they host the NBA champion Miami Heat on Wednesday.
"We feel pretty good here at home. We're pretty confident, we understand that we have three tough games coming up," Johnson said. "We want to take it one game at a time, prepare hard for Miami and come out with the same focus and intensity that we had tonight and we're going to try to dictate the pace of the game."
The Nets rebounded from their first two-game losing streak under P.J. Carlesimo, finishing off a four-game sweep of the Magic, who dropped their sixth straight. The Nets' home winning streak is their longest in one season since winning nine in a row in March and April, 2006.
Routed by Memphis and Houston to end their four-game road trip, the Nets quickly got back on track at home against an overmatched opponent. But now comes a difficult stretch, with Chicago following Miami into Barclays Center on Friday and the improving Los Angeles Lakers visiting next Tuesday.
"We needed this win. We needed to stop the bleeding after the two-game skid we just had and get back to playing some defense," Williams said. "We held them to 77 points today and 40 percent from the field, so that's a lot better than the last two games. Doesn't matter who the team is, we just had to get back to our principles."
Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Magic, who lost for the 17th time in 19 games. Their last two losses had each been by two points, including Sunday against Detroit, but they were blown out of this one early.
"It's tough to continue to do the same task over and over again, and that's what we're asking of our guys. That's what we have to do in order for us to be good as a basketball team," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We have to box out every single time, not nine out of 10 times. For the most part we've done that. We will continue to work at it."
The Nets completed their first four-game sweep of the Magic since 2003-04, the season before Orlando drafted Dwight Howard. Brooklyn led by at least 20 points in all four games.
Both coaches were quick to point out that Jameer Nelson didn't play in any of the first three meetings, but he made no difference thanks to another strong night from Williams, who set the tone with 13 points in the first quarter.
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