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Nets 95, Wizards 78

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Deron Williams connected on his first eight attempts from 3-point range and scored 23 of his game-high 42 points in the first quarter to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 95-78 victory over the Washington Wizards Friday night at the Barclays Center.

The victory was the second straight for the Nets (36-26), who had been struggling prior to the two wins. The loss, the second straight for Washington, dropped the Wizards to 19-41 overall.

Reggie Evans had 11 points, tying his season high, and added a career-high 24 rebounds for the Nets. Brook Lopez added 11 points for the winners.

John Wall had 16 points to pace the Wizards, with Nene and Kevin Seraphin adding 11 points each.

Williams had 23 points in the first quarter, 10 in the second setting his season high in the first 24 minutes. He made 9 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half, setting a new NBA record for 3-pointers in one half and helping the Nets grab a 59-33 lead. The Nets led by as many as 27 (62-35) in the early stages of the third period.

Williams then broke the team record of nine 3-pointers, formerly held by Vince Carter, with his first attempt of the second half. Williams then added another 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, giving him 11 for the game, one shy of the NBA record shared by Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall.

The third quarter was relatively uneventful, with Williams stuck on 36 for a majority of the period.

The Wizards cut the lead to 72-58 on a driving hoop by Emeka Okafor with 22 seconds left, but MarShon Brooks hit a banker to push the lead back to 74-58 at the end of three periods.

The Wizards got to within 13 at 76-63 on a 3-pointer from A.J. Price with nine minutes left. After shooting 57 percent in the first half, the Nets shot just 21 percent in the second half.

The Wizards turned the fourth quarter into a hack-a-Reggie, sending Evans to the line 10 times in the fourth period alone. Evans made only three of those shots, but his two free throws with 4:03 remaining gave the Nets an 88-72 lead.

The Nets came out absolutely on fire, especially Williams, who remarkably canned six straight shots from behind the arc over the first four minutes of the game, giving the Nets a 22-2 lead. The Nets scored the first 16 points of the game, with Williams hitting four treys and Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson adding a bucket each in the run.

After Nene broke the drought for the Wizards with a power move, Williams nailed two more long 3-pointers, giving him 18 for the game and giving the Nets a 20-point advantage in the first five minutes of the contest.

Williams' offensive explosion enabled the Nets to enjoy their best first quarter of the season, outscoring the Wizards, 38-14.

NOTES: Wizards rookie guard Bradley Beal, who had 29 in a loss to the New York Knicks last Friday, was out of action again with a sprained left ankle. The Wizards list Beal, who is averaging 14.2 points per game and was the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December and January, as day-to-day, but he could miss considerable action. ... Before the game, Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo said that there was a chance that the team could use Andray Blatche and Lopez at the same time, to give Brooklyn some scoring punch at power forward. "If the matchups are right, then we will try to do that over the course of the rest of the year. Some of the teams we play will lead to those guys playing together." While the Nets rank dead last in the NBA in scoring production at the power forward (starter Evans averages 3.4 points per game and reserve Kris Humphries is at 5.5 ppg), Blatche is the team's top bench scorer at 10 ppg. ... The Nets' shooting percentages have improved of late. "I think it's because we spend more time shooting at practice," Carlesimo said. "We concentrated on that during the (All-Star) break. We looked at our shooting numbers and none of them were very good. We've carved out bigger parts of practice to work on our shooting." ... After Friday, the Nets play 10 of their next 12 games on the road, including a brutal eight-game road trip. They have only seven regular-season home games remaining, the lowest total in the league.
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