- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2000

NETS 102, WIZARDS 86

Stephon Marbury is not from the same neighborhood that produced former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. But the one thing the two Brooklyn natives have in common is the ability to deliver a knockout.
Last night Marbury reached into his bag of tricks and hit the Washington Wizards with a 31-point, seven assist, four-rebound performance to lead the New Jersey Nets to a 102-86 victory in front of 11,532 at MCI Center.
The Nets turned this into a no-contest early in the night. Down 8-2, the Nets went on a 34-5 run that carried over from the first to the second quarter to give them a 39-15 lead with 10:04 left in the first half. In a game in which the Wizards admitted they did not come prepared to play, Marbury being on fire did not help one bit.
"We weren't ready tonight," Wizards coach Leonard Hamilton said after his team fell to 2-4. "We made too many turnovers in transition and we ran into a team that hit good shots and had a special player in a zone."
Once again sloppy play plagued Washington, which turned the ball over 24 times leading to 30 points. The Nets, on the other hand, turned the ball over 17 times leading to 14 points. But it was Marbury who was the difference last night in front of the frequently booing MCI Center fans. On the way to his game-high 31 points, Marbury shot a blistering 11- for-15 from the field.
"He torched us," Hamilton said. "They have one guy who just went out and torched us for 31. You have to give him a lot of credit. He's a great player and he hit tough shots. It's hard to go 11-for-15 if you're in the gym by yourself, let alone if you have somebody guarding you."
Reserve Richard Hamilton led the Wizards with a career-high 30 points. But he said reaching a career milestone means little on a night when Marbury is hot and the team is never really in the game.
"It seemed like every time we tried to do something, Stephon was there making a three. Or Kenyon Martin was putting the ball back in the basket for a dunk," he said. "It's frustrating."
Martin, the top pick in this year's draft, had the best game of his young career, finishing with 20 points and seven rebounds to go with three blocks. Stephen Jackson, starting in place of injured Keith Van Horn, added 16 points.
Washington's Rod Strickland had 18 points and Juwan Howard scored 17. However, Mitch Richmond was just 1-for-7 from the field and finished with five points.
Leonard Hamilton hinted that Richard Hamilton might eventually find his way into the starting lineup.
"He might be starting later on," Hamilton said of the shooting guard, "but right now he's fine coming off the bench."
As was the case one day earlier in a win over Chicago where they made just 3 of 20 shots in the first quarter Washington once again got off to a squalid start.
The Wizards hit their first three shots of the night and then spent the next 10:36 of the first quarter playing as if blindfolded. What had been a 10-2 Wizards' lead turned into the Nets opening up wounds with jumpshots, layups and just about every other uncontested shot in the basketball lexicon with Marbury and Martin leading the way. Marbury hit all six of his attempts to score 13 in the quarter. Martin was just as difficult to contain against the Wizards, going for 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting. Adding insult to injury, Martin contributed to Washington's offensive ineptitude with a pair of blocked shots.
The brief respite between quarters did little to help Washington early in the second period. Martin scored two quick baskets to start the quarter and increase New Jersey's lead to 36-15. Richard Hamilton kept the Wizards' heart pumping in the second quarter. After having scored just 15 points in his last three games including being held scoreless against Toronto Hamilton showed the poise that the Wizards hope will become a regular aspect of his arsenal. Guarded mostly by Kendall Gill, Hamilton found the range on his jumper. He pumped in 17 points in the quarter while making 7 of 9 from the floor.
With Hamilton shooting the lights out, the Nets quickly reverted back to being, well, the Nets. They turned the ball over three times in the last five minutes of the half and ultimately allowed Washington to narrow a 24-point deficit to 52-39.
Washington was unable to make much headway into the Nets' lead in the third quarter because of the hot-shooting Marbury, who netted 14 points in the period. After having diced through the soft underbelly of the Wizards' interior defense in the first quarter, Marbury began to slice the Wizards apart from long range as he connected on 3 of 4 3-pointers.

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