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Nets blow out Magic

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO -- The Brooklyn Nets looked more like the playoff team they are expecting to become this season while the Orlando Magic looked like a team heading to the lottery.

Evidence of that occured when the Nets blasted the Magic 107-68 Friday night.

The Nets, who were coming off a 30-point loss against the host Miami Heat on Wednesday, got five players in double figures and scoring from all 13 players on the roster.

Nets reserve Andray Blatche led the way with 15 points and nine rebounds. Starting center Brook Lopez, who was almost traded to Orlando over the summer, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Joe Johnson had 13 points and Deron Williams 12.

"This was a good win for us," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "We needed a bounce-back game, and fortunately the ball bounced our way. We'll see what we can string together now."

The Magic, which lost its third consecutive game after two opening victories, got 18 points from point guard E'Twaun Moore but little else in its favor. It was its most lopsided defeat since 2005. Moore, starting in place of Jameer Nelson, had six turnovers.

Orlando struggled to find any offensive rhythm and failed to reach the free-throw line until late in the third quarter when reserve center Gustavo Ayon missed both attempts. None of the starters took a free throw and the four they made were the fewest in a game since 2003.

This is a team that looks like it just traded away its best player (Dwight Howard) and got little in return. It failed to score 20 points in any quarter.

"We've got a lot of work to do," said Magic guard Aaron Afflalo, who had 12 points and five rebounds. "It's really just defensively. We have to hone in on what we're doing."

The Nets, who haven't reached the playoffs since 2007, led from start to finish and rarely were challenged by the hapless Magic. The Nets were the aggressors at both ends of the court, holding a 48-35 rebound edge and scoring 46 points from inside the lane.

"We have a lot of veterans who know how to play," Johnson said. "A lot of things we've been harping on, they executed. We were focused tonight."

The two teams play again Sunday in Brooklyn, which wasn't lost on the Magic, a young, rebuilding team with seven players in either their first or second year.

"When we're not committed, it shows," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "It's pretty simple. You have to be committed to execution every play, not every other play or every fourth play."

The Nets took a 24-point lead into the final period.

The Nets led 50-36 at intermission, getting 12 points from Lopez and 11 points from 38-year-old reserve Jerry Stackhouse. They led by as many as 16 points in the second quarter.

Moore reached double figures for his fifth consecutive game. He had 10 points by halftime, but no one else was helping him offensively.

It was the first time since December of 2010 Orlando failed to take a first-half free throw.

Lopez had a spirited start, getting 11 points in the first six minutes when the Nets built an early nine-point lead. Lopez was the centerpiece of a trade offer the Nets made to the Magic over the summer in trying to land Howard. The Magic rejected the offer and made the deal that sent Howard to the Lakers. Lopez played early like he had some added incentive.

Notes: Like everywhere else around the league, the pregame talk surrounded the quick firing of Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown earlier in the day. Although rookie Magic coach Jacque Vaughn only offer a "no comment," his predecessor Stan Van Gundy a few hours earlier called it "the most ridiculous firing in the history of the NBA. Absurd," according to the Orlando Sentinel. Nets coach Avery Johnson was somewhere in between. "A pretty quick trigger on a good basketball coach," Johnson said before the game. ... The Nets were without veterans Gerald Wallace (left ankle) as expected, but second-year forward MarShon Brooks -- the team's fourth leading scorer -- became a late scratch after twisting his ankle in a morning workout. ... The Magic was without Nelson (hamstring), who could return Sunday when these teams meet again in Brooklyn. ... Magic forward Glen Davis, now a co-captain of the Magic, called his former teammate Kevin Garnett in Boston Thursday asking for some leadership advice. Davis, after two great games to start the season, slumped in the next two.
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