The Orlando Magic were heavily beaten by 92-129 in Brooklyn by a red hot Nets team. Brooklyn secured their 8th consecutive win as Kyrie Irving and James Harden controlled the game.
The Magic again had a settled starting lineup with Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Fournier, James Ennis III, Al-Farouq Aminu and Nikola Vucevic. That left Chasson Randle, Khem Birch, Terrence Ross, Dwayne Bacon, Chuma Okeke, Gary Clark and Mo Bamba to come from the bench.
THE OPENING QUARTER
An ominous start for Orlando saw James Harden feed Kyrie Irving for a made two under the basket inside 15 seconds.
The Orlando offence was struggling despite finding open looks. It was not until the fourth minute of play that Nikola Vucevic scored the Magic’s first field goal. Thankfully Brooklyn had been equally inaccurate at this point.
For Brooklyn Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris and James Harden made 3’s to pull the game closer as the scoring exploded.
The bench units rotated in and from this point star power was a factor. Kyrie Irving stayed on court, playing all 12 minutes of the quarter. His influence against the bench unit was telling.
As the quarter closed the score was 28–24 and the Magic lead by 4.
INTO THE SECOND QUARTER
James Harden came back as Kyrie Irving sat. Michael Carter-Williams returned for Orlando to start the quarter.
Terrence Ross opened the scoring with a solid 3 pointer but as with the end of the first quarter the start of the second was all about the Nets. With 2:30 played a James Harden 3 saw the Nets retake the lead at 31-32.
Vooch had returned and hit 5 points quickly in response. Unfortunately Joe Harris and Tyler Johnson were hot with the 3 ball. Tyler Johnson was also putting in a shift on defence, his hands very active and harrying Orlando into mistakes.
Vucevic kept hitting shots for the Magic and Harden replying for the Nets.
As so often happens for Orlando it was careless and sloppy play that led to Magic difficulties, The live ball turnovers were killing Orlando’s momentum and handing easy buckets to a team that needed no help scoring.
A disastrous 19-41 quarter saw Brooklyn lead at the half 47-65.
THE THIRD QUARTER
The Nets had taken the lead out to 26 early. Even by this early point it felt like the Magic were going to be heavily beaten in Brooklyn.
Despite scoring well Orlando were not cutting into the Brooklyn lead hugely.
A highlight reel Mo Bamba dunk saw the lead under 20 with 2:50 left in the quarter. Unfortunately Mo followed the dunk up with a foul on a driving Nic Claxton for a 3 point score the old fashioned way.
At the close the lead for Brooklyn was 20 on a 72-92 score line.
INTO THE FOURTH
The game had felt over as a contest soon after halftime. As the 4th Q began Orlando were soon down by the largest margin of the night.
The Magic offence was struggling to do anything against the NBA’s 26th rated defensive team, who give up an average of 117 points per game.
Consistent misses with the long ball saw Orlando being one and done. By contrast Brooklyn were shooting over 50% from the field and 40% from 3.
With a large portion of the quarter remaining both teams emptied their benches to play out the game. By the final buzzer the almost inevitable had been confirmed and the Magic were indeed heavily beaten in Brooklyn.
THE FINAL SCORE – 92-129
ON THE NIGHT
Orlando’s season record is now 13-20, dropping to 13th in the East.
Let’s be fair Brooklyn absolutely battered us! They had depth in every position and looked balanced. They got a solid contribution from every player who took to the court, even when the game was over in the late 4th.
In stark contrast Orlando had no rhythm after the first quarter and did not start that period well. Again the offensive play was disjointed all night.
Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 28 points and 12 rebounds. James Ennis III got 15 points, with Dwayne Bacon and Michael Carter-Williams tallying 11 each.
I’m trying to not be over critical of the team but with so few players having a positive impact it is hard to praise anyone other than Vooch. Important figures for the team like Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross failed to spark, they combined for only 13 points. Those given a chance to shine like Mo Bamba and Gary Clark did not do so.
A deserved result for Brooklyn but not one I enjoyed in the slightest.