Recap: Nets 93, Magic 100 - Collapse in Orlando
Despite leading by as many as 12 points in the second half, the Brooklyn Nets collapsed on the road to lose to the Orlando Magic 100-93.
The game started well for the Nets. Even though they were playing on the road against a team with twice as many wins as them, the Nets commanded the pace and flow of the game in the first half of the game. The team only committed two turnovers in the first half, largely due to the surprisingly capable floor generals of Jarrett Jack.
Rather than looking for his own shot and settling for midrange jumpers early in the shot clock, Jack looked to distribute early. He assisted on seven shots in the first half without committing a turnover, a remarkable run of controlled, disciplined play from the veteran.
Disciplined is a good description for how the team played as a whole in the first half. After the first quarter ended in a 26-26 tie, the Nets came out in the second quarter and executed well against a Magic squad that lacked cohesion on the defensive end. Jack, Brook Lopez, and a resurgent Bojan Bogdonavich carried the offense, providing offense from the paint and the perimeter.
Perhaps more impressively, the Nets played well on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Magic to only 19 points in the second quarter. Even Nikola Vucevic, who usually kills the Nets (and Brook Lopez), was stifled in the first half, scoring only 4 points to Lopez’s 15 in the first half. At the end of the the half, the Nets led 52-45 and were playing like the better team.
The third quarter showed that they weren’t. The first half lead was built on an unsustainable low turnover rate that quickly regressed: after two turnovers in the first half, they coughed up five in the third quarter alone. Even though the Nets maintained a five point lead going into the fourth quarter, there were signs of the disaster to come. The Magic had begun to control the boards and the pace of the game, while the Nets continued to be impotent from beyond the arc. And Brook Lopez was looking tired.
It all fell apart in the fourth quarter. The Nets went from controlling the game to just trying to hold on, but the Magic had the talent, energy, and depth to destroy them. So they did.
They made threes and the Nets didn’t. They pulled down rebounds and the Nets didn’t. They played stifling, swarming defense and the Nets didn’t. Brook Lopez missed layups and free throws because he was fatigued and the Magic never seemed the least bit tired. It’s hard to blame the Nets for blowing a double-digit lead in the second half, because they were playing a better team that imposed their will on them. The Nets lost 100-93 to a Magic team that s better than them. That happens.
- Orlando made only one more shot from the field than the Nets and had one less free throw, but they won by seven points. The difference, as it almost always seems to be, was threes: the Nets were 3/20 while the Magic shot 9/26.
- Andrea Bargnani played 14 minutes, shot 1/4 for 2 points, and had zero rebounds. In game where the Nets were killed on the glass (50-37), having a big on the floor who can rebound might have helped. Thomas Robinson played 4 minutes. His one verifiable NBA skill is rebounding. Swapping that minute distribution probably would have been a good thing.
- Joe Johnson played 34 minutes, shot 1/5 from beyond the arc, didn’t get to the line once, had 0 assists, and played awful defense. At some point, what you are has to take precedence over what you were. The past is the past.
- Thaddeus Young was again a bright spot. He played great on defense and remains the Nets best chance at competing with athletic teams. He has also never been on a team with a winning record. He deserves to be on one, but it’s not going to happen this season.
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was missed, especially against a young team like the Magic. Hopefully he returns sooner than expected, without any lingering problems.
- The Brooklyn Nets fall to the Orlando Magic 100-93, dropping them to 9-23 on the season. Their next game is a rare daytime game on Saturday, January 2nd against the Celtics in Boston at 3 pm (ET).