NEW YORK — Deron Williams sensed the disappointment from the crowd, strange as it seemed given how well he played.
He gave the ball to the open man — just what a point guard is supposed to do.
“I thought they were going to boo me one time because I didn’t shoot it,” he said.
In one of the best 3-point shooting nights in NBA history, who wanted to see him pass?
Williams made an NBA-record nine 3-pointers in the first half, finished with 11 and scored a season-high 42 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 95-78 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
Williams made his first eight shots from behind the arc, became the first player in a decade to match the opposing team’s score in the first half, and was one shy of the league record of 12 3-pointers as the Nets opened a huge early lead and coasted.
He missed from straightaway with 1:08 left in the game, leaving him one shy of the record shared by Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall.
“It kind of reminded me of my days when I first got in the league when I played with Ray Allen,” said Nets forward Reggie Evans, referring to the NBA’s career leader in 3-pointers.
Williams had four 3-pointers before Washington even made a basket, his fourth giving the Nets a 16-0 lead before Nene finally got Washington on the board. Williams answered right back with another 3 and then — clearly realizing he was in the zone — pulled up from 25 feet on a fast break and nailed it to make it 22-2.
“He hit six 3s that quick. We wasn’t making shots all night,” Wizards guard John Wall said. “For him to hit six 3s and you’re not scoring, three points add up quicker than two. That’s 18 right there. It’s kind of tough to get through that when you’re not making any shots.”
Evans had 11 points and a career-high 24 rebounds while making 5 of 16 free throws for the Nets, earning a standing ovation for his effort. Brook Lopez also scored 11 points for the Nets, who go right back on the road Saturday for a big game at Atlanta, one of the Eastern Conference teams they are battling for fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Wall had 16 points for the Wizards, who played without rookie guard and leading scorer Bradley Beal because of a sprained left ankle and lost for the fourth time in five games.
Brooklyn plays only four of its 15 games this month at home, with lengthy time away to accommodate the Atlantic 10 tournament and then the circus.
The Nets celebrated Latin Night on Friday, with starting lineups announced in Spanish, and then Williams treated fans to a performance that was simply en fuego.