Wednesday, April 03, 2013 9:33 pm
Nets beat Cavs to set franchise mark for road wins
By TOM WITHERSAP Sports Writer
The Nets shot 83 percent (15 of 18) in the second quarter, when they outscored the Cavs 38-16 and opened a 30-point lead without much of a fight. Brooklyn's 21 road wins are the most for the franchise, which moved to the New York City borough from New Jersey this season.
MarShon Brooks made his first 10 shots and finished with a career-high 27 points for the Nets, who haven't played at home since March 17 because the circus is at Barclays Center.
There's something of a carnival going on in Cleveland. The Cavaliers have lost 10 straight amid speculation about coach Byron Scott's future.
Despite playing without injured starters Joe Johnson (heel) and Gerald Wallace (foot), the playoff-bound Nets closed their 17-day trip by making some history. By going 5-3 on the trip they reached 21 road wins, eclipsing the previous team record set last season and in 2005-06.
With only three road games left, the Nets have clinched their first winning road record since joining the NBA in 1976. Brooklyn also has 43 overall wins, the Nets' most since winning 49 in `05-'06.
The Nets shot 73 percent (27 of 37) in the first half, when almost everything they hoisted toward the rim dropped through. Brooks surpassed his season high for points by halftime and Williams even recorded his first dunk of the season, driving past several Cavs acting like statues.
Williams made four 3-pointers, added eight assists and didn't play the final 15 minutes as interim Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo got a chance to rest his road-weary crew heading into an important home game with Chicago on Thursday. Brooklyn is trying to hold off the Bulls and Atlanta Hawks for the No. 4 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Reggie Evans had 18 rebounds and Brooks Lopez scored 14 for the Nets, whose reserves allowed the score to become more respectable in the fourth.
For the young Cavs, the season can't end soon enough.
Cleveland has been ravaged by injuries, but it's tough to make excuses for a team that continues to come out flat, plays little or no defense and has blown big leads. Scott, in his third season, is under contract for one more year. The club picked up his 2013-14 option before this season.
During their 10-game slide - the club's longest since dropping a league record 26 in a row in 2010-11, the Cavs blew a 27-point lead at home to Miami, lost by 38 at Houston and had three other losses by at least 18.
Cavs All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, playing his second game after missing eight with a shoulder injury, scored 16. Marreese Speights had 16 and 10 rebounds. The Cavs were missing rookie guard Dion Waiters, who continues to be sidelined by a left knee injury that may require surgery.
Before the game, Scott talked about using a zone defense the Cavs recently employed with limited success.
However, the only ones in any "zone" were the Nets, who hardly missed in the second quarter while building a 30-point lead.
Williams made three 3-pointers and Brooklyn scorched the nets during a dazzling 12 minutes of marksmanship. With virtually every shot a swish, the Nets outscored the Cavs 28-8 over the final 7:17 to take a 66-36 halftime lead.
It was bad enough Brooklyn was bombing away, but Cleveland's defense offered little resistance. At one point, 38-year-old Jerry Stackhouse cut to the basket and dunked over two defenders. Later, Williams drove the right side, wasn't slowed and went in for a rare dunk.
Brooks made all five shots from the field in the first quarter, when the Nets shot 63 percent and opened a 28-20 lead after one that felt twice as large.
Notes: Wallace was a late scratch after being hurt Saturday in Brooklyn's loss at Utah. ... Williams has 153 3-pointers this season, third most in team history. ... Carelsimo expects Johnson, the Nets' third-leading scorer who has missed five straight, to play Thursday against the Bulls. ... Waiters hasn't played since March 20 because of loose cartilage in his knee. The Cavs are hoping he can avoid an arthroscopic procedure. ... Browns players Joe Haden and Paul Kruger attended the game, giving the crowd something to cheer about in the second half. ... The Cavs are limiting Irving's playing time for the remainder of the season.