On a night when the Nets recorded an emphatic victory, it was their lone rookie’s emphatic dunks that led the way.

Behind a career-high 22 points from Mason Plumlee — most of which came on a variety of high-flying dunks — the Nets led wire-to-wire en route to a 93-81 victory over the Pelicans in front of a sellout Barclay Center crowd of 17,732.

“It was good to see Mason flying around out there, dunking everything,” Deron Williams said.

Plumlee certainly was throwing down plenty of dunks Sunday night, as he was the beneficiary of a porous Pelicans defense that left him open time after time on hard rolls to the rim, or by getting out on the fast break and running the open floor to finish lob passes from teammates — including several from Jason Terry — for slams that sent the crowd, and his teammates on the bench, into a frenzy every time.
“I mean, I think I just did the same thing I’ve been doing,” Plumlee said. “They just didn’t guard the rim as well.

“A lot of guys got me open … they drew [double-teams] off their screen-and-roll, and they found me at the rim.”

The Nets are a veteran team, a group full of players who are far more likely to outwit defenders than overpower them at this point in their careers. That is what has made Plumlee, the 22nd pick in the 2013 draft, stand out on a star-studded roster whenever he has gotten a chance to play.

Those chances have been fewer and farther between in recent weeks, as the Nets have downshifted to a smaller, quicker lineup that’s featured only one big man — usually Kevin Garnett or Andray Blatche — on the floor at a time, leaving Plumlee on the bench for long stretches.

But when Garnett made his usual exit midway through the first quarter Sunday night and Blatche picked up a pair of quick fouls trying to guard Pelicans star big man Anthony Davis, Plumlee got a chance to enter the game with 4:20 remaining in the first quarter.
He played so well he didn’t leave the floor for the rest of the first half, racking up 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots while helping the Nets turn what had been an 11-point lead when he checked into the game into a 27-point lead early in the second quarter and a 51-28 advantage at halftime.