Joe Johnson had 12 points and took just nine shots for the Nets. Credit: Getty Images
The Nets had turned in an overall performance that can be classified as uneven through the first 12 quarters of the season. They looked very good at various points Friday against Miami and very bad at certain points two nights ago in Orlando.
Everything came together for the Nets who led wire-to-wire in a 104-88 rout of the Jazz, giving head coach Jason Kidd his first official victory in his home debut on the sidelines.
“We made a conscious effort not to let them get the easy touches,” Kidd said. “Sunday was a lesson learned and we bounced back.”
The win essentially was a carryover from Monday’s fierce practice loaded with intensity.
“I’d like to think yesterday’s practice carried over to today’s game,” Garnett said. “Yesterday was probably the hardest we had since training camp. Orlando was totally a failed effort and we really got after it.”
“It was great,” Joe Johnson said. “We had a great practice yesterday, which carried over to today’s game.”
Afterward, the team presented the game ball to Kidd. They turned out the lights in the locker room and players presented it to Kidd.
“They presented me with the game ball, which was a very classy thing,” Kidd said. “But these guys deserve it, they did all the work.”
The offense ran through Brook Lopez, whose 27 points helped the Nets control the paint by a whopping margin. Lopez also shot 10-of-13, helping the Nets shoot 58 percent through three quarters and 51 percent overall.
“He plays really, really poised basketball,” Garnett said. “He’s never rattled. He seems to be always under control and he’s very, very strong.”
The showing was a significant improvement for Lopez, who had been 21-of-33 in a pair of 21-point performances during losses at Orlando and Cleveland.
"I think my guys just found me in good positions,” Lopez said. “They were always looking and I was trying to catch it and finish strong. I think in general we just did a good job of attacking the basket and playing off that, playing inside and out.”
The showing was also among of Lopez’s best as it marked his highest field-goal percentage in any of the 39 times he scored at least 27 points.
Nobody took more than 13 shots and nobody played more than the 25:29 Joe Johnson did. Johnson finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including consecutive 3-pointers late in the first half during the only time the Jazz threatened the Nets.
Kevin Garnett played only 13:36 on the court and finished with four points as both of his baskets came in a span of 28 seconds during the third quarter when the Nets expanded a 54-38 halftime lead to 85-61.
Deron Williams played 24:24 and had 10 points and eight assists. After talk of limiting his minutes due to his right ankle issues, it seemed likely he would have played had the game been close during the fourth quarter.
Paul Pierce needed just 22:56 to score 11 points, including a 3-point play that ended the first half and a pair of layups when the Nets officially made it a rout.
The Nets scored the game’s first seven points and taking a 28-18 lead after 12 minutes when Lopez had 11 points, easily winning his low-post matchup with Turkish big man Enes Kanter.
Single-digit leads were rare for the Nets, who never trailed by less than 10 after Johnson hit a 3-pointer after four passes for a 39-29 lead with 5:48 left in the first half.
“We had great ball movement today,” Johnson said. “I didn’t think we overpassed today.”