A game on the second half of a back-to-back did not hold an obstacle for the Nets as they eeked out a win against the Orlando Magic on Monday night, 98-95. That’s Brooklyn’s second straight win at home, improving to 14-23 on the season.
The game was a close one, with the result coming down to the wire and the Nets executing in the final minutes. Brooklyn was the team playing catchup for the majority of the game, falling behind by as many as eight points in the first half before retaking the lead in the third quarter on back-to-back threes from Tyler Zeller and Spencer Dinwiddie. From there, Brooklyn and Orlando took turns with the lead, with 13 total lead changes and 15 ties in the game.
The three ball did not come alive for Brooklyn much all game, with the team making just three in the first half and six in the second on 25 overall attempts. Meanwhile, Orlando was putting up threes but could not get them to fall, making six on 41 attempts (19.4 percent).
Jarrett Allen was a big-time contributor for Brooklyn, recording a career-high 16 points and adding six rebounds. Allen rocked the rim, keeping an eye out for the ball and executing with force.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 2, 2018
Allen’s two blocks helped make up a season-high 10 from the team, as well. He was one of six Nets to record a block.
Allen gets to contribute because his connection with LeVert is REAL. LeVert gets the ball to Allen and the rookie does not let his guard down. Each game their connection gets better, and it’s becoming a real threat. It is also making LeVert better, who recorded his fourth straight game with more than seven assists, the first Net to do so since Deron Williams in the 2013-14 season.
Add in double-digit scoring in nine straight games, and LeVert is consistently making his mark. He set the tone and put his imprint on the game with his 15 points and eight assists.
Throughout the fourth quarter, the Nets found themselves a few steps short from maintaining a lead over the Magic. The Nets outshot the Magic (43.9 percent compared to 36.5), but they trailed in offensive rebounds 19-10, which gave Orlando its second chances. Bismack BIyombo, who had a monster game with 13 points and 17 rebounds, recorded nine offensive rebounds on his own.
Where the Nets did hold an advantage was in a 42-22 edge in bench points. Along with Allen and LeVert, Joe Harris got involved with his nine points.
After trailing the Magic for much of the fourth quarter, Dinwiddie nailed a three-pointer and LeVert drew a big-time and-one to bring the Nets up two with a minute to go. After a missed three-pointer from the Magic, Allen Crabbe hit his free throws and then blocked a shot on the other end with six seconds to go.
The Magic got another shot up, but it was no good. Brooklyn rebounded and snagged the victory. Last season, the Nets did not get their 14th victory until the 70th game of the season; tonight was the 37th.
Crabbe is the end-of-game hero, and the Nets are undefeated in 2018. Pop open the champagne for one more night.
Spencer Dinwiddie Point Guard
7 PTS, 2-6 FG, 2-5 3FG, 1-2 FT, 3 REB, 5 AST, 1 TOV, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 30 MIN
It’s been a while since Dinwiddie has made an exclamation on a game, but this is the closest he’s gotten. Dinwiddie must have made being better in clutch time one of his New Year’s resolutions as he drained a go-ahead three to give the Nets the lead at the end of the game.
As usual, Dinwiddie did not give the ball away much and even added in two blocks.
He’s not pouring in 20 points per game, but he’s impacting other parts of the game, and the effort is bringing him back to being a game-changer.
DeMarre Carroll Small Forward
14 PTS, 6-12 FG, 1-4 3FG, 1-2 FT, 10 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 29 MIN
Carroll fights for rebounds, sniffs out steals and flat-out plays the game. The vet put up a double-double in the second half of a back-to-back and was a momentum-changer.
Carroll is one player that can make a difference each time he steps on the court, and his presence was clear in the victory over Orlando.
Allen Crabbe Shooting Guard
15 PTS, 3-8 FG, 3-6 3FG, 6-6 FT, 8 REB, 1 AST, 1 TOV, 1 STL, 3 BLK, 28 MIN
Not only did Crabbe make the offensive and defensive plays at the end of the game to secure the win, he was the most reliable Net at the charity stripe. The Nets needed each free throw they could get, and Crabbe sank all six of his opportunities. His steal at the end was what sealed the deal as well.
Crabbe also led the team with THREE blocked shots. He can go into his slumps, but his impact in tonight’s win was a big bounce back. The Nets don’t always have the player that can come up big in close games, but Crabbe was that player today, and they needed him.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Power Forward
13 PTS, 4-13 FG, 0-1 3FG, 5-6 FT, 7 REB, 1 AST, 3 TOV, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 38 MIN
RHJ played a monster 38 minutes in the game and helped his team throughout. Along with Crabbe, Rondae came up big down the stretch and made his free throws.
He didn’t always have it on offense, but he got the job done on defense and made the big plays. Everything counts in that win.