The Nets' second-year guard scored a career-high 27 points in New Jersey's 113-95 victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena. It marked the 10th loss in a row for the Cavs, as well as their 14th in the last 16 games. Brooks stepped in for the injured Joe Johnson and made 12 of 16 shots from the field and added four rebounds and seven assists in 38 minutes. 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 behind the arc. The Nets (43-31) shot 58 percent from the field. They also bullied the Cavs on the boards outrebounding Cleveland, 44-36. Power forward Reggie Evans yanked down a game-high 18 rebounds. He averaged 16.8 rebounds in the previous five games. Guard Kyrie Irving and center Marreese Speights each had 16 points for the Cavs (22-52). Irving dished out a team-high six assists, while Speights added a team-high 10 rebounds. Center Tyler Zeller added 14 points and four rebounds. The Cavs showed some signs of life in the third quarter, as they outscored New Jersey, 32-29. Still, they trailed by 27 points after three quarters, 95-68. Brooks had 23 points and Williams 24 after three quarters. The Nets shot 60.7 percent from the field. The Nets obliterated the Cavs in the first half, 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. The Cavs made just 32.6 percent of their shots in the first two quarters. This is a classic case of one team having something to play for, and the other doesn't. The Nets are trying to hang onto the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs are checking the date of the draft lottery. The Nets' backcourt of Brooks and Williams outscored the Cavs' starting guards in the first half, 37-8. Brooks had a season-high 19 points and converted all nine of his field goals in the first half. Playing behind Johnson, Brooks doesn't get much time to shine. Shine he did, though, in his first start of the season. The Nets scored 38 points in the second quarter. The Cavs managed just 36 points in the first half. Brooks made all five of his shots in the first quarter for 11 points. The Nets shot 63.2 percent from the field in the first quarter to open up a 28-20 advantage. Zeller had six points in the first quarter for the Cavs, who shot just 38.9 percent from the floor. NOTES: The Cavaliers, who have been ineffective for most of the season using coach Byron Scott's man-to-man defense, are now using a zone. "We're using it more," Scott said. "We gave the guys some specific rules we want to stick by when we're in our 'spider.' It's not foreign to us. We've had it in our arsenal." They have it in their playbook, but just haven't practiced it as much. Scott planned on using it almost half the time against Brooklyn. "I always thought it could be effective since it changed the pace of the game, throws them off rhythm," he said. He's always thought of the zone as being a "lazy" defense. Rookie guard Dion Waiters, currently sidelined with a sore left knee, could give his teammates some pointers on playing zone. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's zone defense is considered tops in the collegiate ranks. "This would be perfect for Dion right now," Scott said. "He could probably teach our guys some things." ... Irving (sprained left shoulder) and swingman C.J. Miles (sore foot) returned to the lineup Wednesday. Both players 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 Cavs shootaround Wednesday. ... Scott said Nets power forward 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 MarShon Brooks at shooting guard and Keith Bogans at small forward.
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