ORLANDO — Deron Williams got a free meal out of his trip to Orlando. He repaid the city with bricks.

A day after he dined with Dwight Howard – reiterating the belief that a strong friendship between the two stars will eventually forge a team-up – Williams’ shot was again off, leaving the Nets vulnerable in a 94-78 loss Thursday to the Magic.

Williams scored just 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting with seven assists, while Howard dominated the paint with 24 rebounds, 16 points and three blocks – including one on Mehmet Okur’s shot that he sent to the third row of the Amway Center.

Williams is shooting just 29 percent through the first three games. He didn’t hit a field goal until the second half Friday.

A night prior, Williams met Howard for dinner – a meal that Williams didn’t want to discuss, but Howard later confirmed to reporters by saying the restaurant picked up the tab.

Although it brought further attention to the distracting trade rumors, coach Avery Johnson laughed off the dinner among friends. The last time a dinner between NBA stars attracted this much attention, participants Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade committed to the same team five days later.

Williams said before the preseason that he and Howard – good friends stemming from the 2008 Olympics – discussed their mutual interest to play together during the lockout.

“I’m disappointed Deron didn’t invite me out to dinner. I’d like to go out to dinner,” Johnson said. “Coach has to eat also. I actually call better plays when my stomach is full. And I’m sure coach Van Gundy likes to eat also. Maybe Stan and I should have had dinner also. We’ve never had dinner before.

“It’s just the world of reality TV,” Johnson added. “I think you’re making it a bigger deal than we are. Players have friends and it’s something that, from what I’ve been told, they always do. So that’s just the way it is.”


Posted By: @BrookLynnDiva