We may need to start looking for Deron Williams in Siberian villages. He may have been kidnapped by political opponents of New Jersey Nets owner/Russian presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov and replaced with a lifelike but awful-at-basketball android. Williams shot 2-12 from the floor -- he's now 13-45 for the season -- as the Orlando Magic beat the Nets 94-78 on Thursday.
Williams had seven assists and six turnovers. This season he has not only looked nothing like Deron Williams, but he's been one of the worse Nets players, which is impressive given that the rotation includes DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro and Shelden Williams.
If there's a bright spot for New Jersey, it's that rookie MarShon Brooks is off to a hot start in his debut season. He scored 17 points in 21 minutes on Thursday, and is averaging better than 13 points per game despite playing less than 20 minutes a night through three games.
Ryan Anderson had another big night for the Magic, scoring 22 as a less mobile Rashard Lewis. He hit 3-5 from long-range. Dwight Howard had an awful night at the line (2-9), but managed to score 16 and dominate the glass to the tune of a monstrous rebound total of 24. Howard has twice exceed that total, but not since 2007. The total was twice exceeded last season: Kevin Love had 31 in a game, and Andrew Bogut hit 27.
In other action:
Bulls 108, Kings 98: Sacramento shot 20-34 from the line (59 percent), and lost by 10. Tyreke Evans went 5-12 from the stripe, sullying an otherwise strong game. The Bulls shot beautifully, and that kept Chicago ahead despite a big Kings advantage on the boards (18 offensive rebounds in 51 opportunities).
Rockets 105, Spurs 85: Kevin Martin had been a disaster in Houston's opener, but turned it around in Thursday's big win over the Spurs (25 points in 24 minutes, 10-17 shooting). Richard Jefferson was brilliant in the Spurs' Wednesday win over the Clippers, but stunk out loud on Thursday (2-10). Such is basketball. The Spurs shot just 37 percent from the field and hit 2-17 from beyond the arc, and Gregg Popovich held Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan to fewer than 20 minutes a piece in a hopeless effort.