Brook Lopez scored 38 points and Deron Williams had 31 in his first visit to Dallas since spurning his hometown team in free agency, leading the Brooklyn Nets past the Mavericks 113-96 on Wednesday night.
Williams scored 26 in the second half, repeatedly hitting shots and occasionally assisting on a basket by Lopez to prevent a Dallas rally in the fourth quarter.
Williams also hit a fadeaway jumper after a blocked shot by Lopez, running to his bench with a big smile after Dallas called timeout with the Nets up 97-88 midway through the fourth. The Mavericks didn't get closer than six after that.
Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 16 points and had a team-high six rebounds compared to 22 boards for Reggie Evans of the Nets, who outrebounded the Mavericks 45-34.
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The Nets improved to 2-0 on a season-high, eight-game road trip that now makes five straight stops out West. Brooklyn is two road wins shy of the franchise record of 20.
The Mavericks, who started the night three games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, lost the opener of a six-game homestand as they try to keep a 12-year postseason streak alive.
Lopez, who set a season high for points and was one off his career high, and Williams led a third-quarter run that put Brooklyn ahead for good. Lopez did most of his scoring inside but had a 12-foot bank shot and another jumper from just inside the 3-point line as the Nets built a 10-point lead.
Lopez, who also had 11 rebounds, was 15 of 22 from the field and 8 of 10 from the line.
Williams scored seven of nine Brooklyn points to start the third quarter, and Lopez had the other two. They combined to go 11 of 12 from the field in the third, and the only miss was a desperation heave from beyond half court by Williams at the end of the quarter.
Williams even got into the act on the defensive end, taking a charge from O.J. Mayo on a fast break with the Mavericks trying to stop Brooklyn's key third-quarter run.
Williams, who grew up in the Dallas area, got a smattering of boos during introductions and even fewer the first time he touched the ball.
“It's just another game for me,” Williams said after the morning shootaround. “I'm glad my family and friends get a chance to come out and see the game. I'm glad I got a chance to spend a couple of days here and see people. But other than that, it's just another game.”
It wasn't his first game against Dallas since last summer, either. The Mavericks started March – their best month of the season by far – with a 98-90 win in Brooklyn.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who infamously attended a “Shark Tank” taping instead of joining the Dallas contingent when free agency opened, intentionally stayed away from Brooklyn when the Mavericks visited. He still wasn't interested in Williams talk Wednesday.
“That's old, old, old, old news,” Cuban said before the game.
The Nets were actually better without Williams in the first half. While he was sitting to start the second quarter, Brooklyn went on an 18-6 run for a 40-38 lead.
Andray Blatche scored 14 in the second quarter for Brooklyn on 6-of-6 shooting, and not all of them were easy. He hit three long jumpers, two of them over Nowitzki.
NOTES: Nowitzki surpassed the 9,000-rebound mark and became the 10th NBA player with at least 24,000 points and 9,000 boards. … Mavericks F Shawn Marion missed his eighth straight game with a left calf strain. … Nets F Kris Humphries was a game-time scratch with a bad back. It was the eighth straight game on the bench for the former Maverick. … The Mavericks spread the scoring wealth in the first half. Nowitzki, Chris Kaman and Mike James led with six points apiece, while Jae Crowder and Brandan Wright each had five.