Maybe it was the new offense? Maybe it was the defense?
Whatever it was, it was a far cry from what the New Jersey Nets had shown in losing their first three games of the season.
The Nets got 25 points from Johnny Newman and 23 points and a career-high 18 rebounds from Keith Van Horn on Sunday night in a 112-87 victory over Washington, the Wizards' third straight loss.
Marbury had eight assists and 10 points, well off the 30.3 he averaged in the three losses.
Kendall Gill, who scored 19 points for the Nets, saw it differently.
"The defense was the key," Gill said. "We wanted to stop their big three and we did."
Meanwhile, Wizards coach Gar Heard had little good to say about his own team after Washington lost its third straight after winning the season opener.
"I don't mind getting beat but we got our butts kicked tonight," said Heard, who picked up a technical during the fourth quarter in which his team was outscored 37-19. "We're not running out there, we're jogging."
Newman, who was 7-of-11 from the field including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, felt the Nets' success was "a little bit of everything."
"We were moving the ball around and our shots were falling," he said. "Defensively we were swarming and that helped create offense."
No matter what got the credit, it was a resounding and much needed victory for the Nets.
New Jersey led through much of the first half but the Wizards scored the last four points of the first half and the first nine of the second half five by Strickland to take a 55-53 lead.
But New Jersey responded with an 18-4 run that included seven points each by Van Horn and Gill to take a 71-59 lead.
New Jersey iced the victory by holding Washington without a field goal over the first 7:54 of the fourth quarter while outscoring the Wizards 24-4 for a 99-72 lead. Newman had 14 points in that run.
The Nets reeled off the last 11 points of the first quarter, six by Marbury, to open a 29-17 lead.
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