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Brooks scores career-high 27 as Nets top Cavs 113-95

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- Maybe the Brooklyn Nets have found a new star.

Guard MarShon Brooks made the most of his first start of the season with a career-high 27 points and seven assists in the Nets' 113-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers before an announced crowd of 14,863 at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavs (22-52) lost their 10th game in a row, as well as 14th in the last 16 games.

Brooks stepped in for the injured Joe Johnson and converted 12-of-16 shots from the field.

"It was huge (tonight)," Brooks said. "These last nine games are huge for us because everything is so tight in the East.

"As you guys saw, my shot was just falling today. I was attacking the rim and trying to make the easy play."

Nets point guard Deron Williams was also highly effective, with 24 points, three rebounds and a game-high eight assists. Brooks and Williams outscored their Cavs counterparts 51-21 and combined to convert 20-of-30 shots from the floor and 5-of-9 from the 3-point line.

Williams also added his first dunk of the season.

"I didn't really plan it," he said. "It was just something that happened. (My teammates) know I can dunk. (The media) makes a big deal about it."

Nets power forward Reggie Evans yanked down a game-high 18 rebounds. He averaged 16.8 rebounds in the previous five games. He outrebounded the Cavs' starting frontcourt 18-15.

The Nets shot 56.6 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from behind the arc. They outrebounded the Cavs 44-36.

Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving was asked whether the players have quit on coach Byron Scott.

"Have I checked out?" Irving asked. "No. I'm out there playing with a sprained AC joint (in my shoulder). That thought never crossed my mind."

Scott is desperately trying to hang onto his job.

He was asked whether he's worried about his job security after the Cavs lost their 14th game in their last 16 outings.

"Not really," Scott said. "Whatever happens, happens."

What happened in the first half was perhaps their worst two quarters of the season. The Nets (43-31), holding onto the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, bullied the Cavs 66-36.

The Nets shot a blistering 73 percent from the field and 70 percent from behind the arc in the first half. They made 27 of 37 shots from the floor.

"That was one of the worst halves we've had in a while -- from an effort and energy standpoint," Scott said.

Irving said the game was all about a lack of effort.

"The game went from bad to worse," he said. "It went down the drain. We didn't meet their intensity."

The Nets scored more points in the second quarter (38) than the Cavs scored in the first half (36).

Irving finished with 16 points and six assists, while center Marreese Speights recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Center Tyler Zeller added 14 points and four rebounds.

Scott refused to say he's at the end of his rope. He doesn't think he's lost any of the players.

"I'm disappointed, though," he said. "I'm very disappointed in the way we played. The energy and effort wasn't there."

The Cavs trailed by 27 points after three quarters, 95-68. They outscored the Nets 59-47 in the second half, but the game had long been decided.

"It's been rough," Cavs swingman C.J. Miles said. "(In the eight) games we have left, we have to compete."

Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo loved how his players shared the ball. They dished out 31 assists.

"The ball movement was very good in the first half," Carlesimo said. "There were a lot of extra passes. Guys made shots."

NOTES: Irving (sprained left shoulder) and Miles (sore foot) missed the Atlanta game on Monday. The news wasn't as good for Waiters, who has missed the last seven games. He didn't do anything at the shootaround on Wednesday. ... Scott said Evans is "murdering" people on the boards. He's averaging 16.8 rebounds per game in his last five, including a career-high 26 vs. Portland on March 27. ... Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson is a finalist for the NBA J. Walter Kennedy Award, which has been presented since the 1974-75 season and given to a player, coach or trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community. Others up for the award are Tyson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, David Lee, Jason Terry and Kyle Korver. ... Two starters were out for the Nets on Wednesday: forward Gerald Wallace (sore left foot) and shooting guard Joe Johnson (sore left heel). They were replaced by Brooks at shooting guard and Keith Bogans at small forward.

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