Williams finished with a career-high 11 threes — coming one shy of the all-time mark shared by Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall — and the Wizards could only pay their respects to the one-time all-star and be grateful that he cooled off in the second half.
“Just a hell of a shooting display,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “He got hot. Don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything quite like that before in the first half.”
Williams scored a game-high 42 points and made sure that the Wizards’ first regular season visit to Barclays Center was memorable on a night when Washington couldn’t hit shots nor defend the only player on the court who was on target from long distance.
The Wizards (19-41) tried to defend Williams with Wall, Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster and Chris Singleton but when they started defending the three-point arc, Williams zipped past them for layups and floaters.
Williams outscored the Wizards, 23-14, in the first quarter and matched their first-half total with 33 as the Nets entered the locker room with a 26-point lead.
Williams pushed the Nets ahead, 62-35, when he buried his 10th three-pointer early in the third quarter.
“That’s what he was an all-star before for,” said Wall, who scored a team-high 16 points on just 6 of 19 shooting. “He basically controlled the game and that’s why they won. I mean, if he’s hitting threes and you’re not scoring, three points add up quicker than two. It’s tough to get through that.”
Williams opened his barrage by taking a pass from Gerald Wallace and knocking down a three-pointer from the left side of the arc over Webster. Next trip, he took a few dribbles and hit another on the right side as Ariza flew by.
Feeling good about himself, Williams hit a “why-not?” pull-up three-pointer over Wall, forcing Wittman to call a timeout as fans started to chant, “Brook-lyn! Brook-lyn!”
Nene (11 points) was the only other Wizards starter to score in double figures. Kevin Seraphin added 11 and A.J. Price had 10 as the Wizards played without rookie Bradley Beal, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. The Wizards are 2-7 without Beal, but it’s unlikely his presence would’ve slowed Williams.
Williams had been battling ankle injuries for much of the first half of the season, but he was feeling lighter and more refreshed after receiving cortisone and platelet-rich plasma injections in both ankles before the all-star break, and then completing a three-day juice cleanse. On Friday night, he was unstoppable, making 11 of 16 from long range.