Big Baby & the Magic take on the Brooklyn Nets tonight. (AP/John Raoux)
TV: Tonight's game will be broadcast on YES.
Starters: The Nets will start the same lineup for the third straight game with Gerald Wallace out, starting Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez. The Magic are expected to start Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis, and Nikola Vucevic, with the other two spots unclear. Jameer Nelson said he's not sure if he will play, but Orlando Pinstriped Post has said he is out.
Key reserves: For the Nets, both Josh Childress and MarShon Brooks are out nursing ankle injuries, putting added pressure on Tornike Shengelia and even Jerry Stackhouse! The Nets have also given significant minutes to C.J. Watson (great), Reggie Evans (spotty), and Andray Blatche (I'm... rooting for him). The Magic's backups include supershooter J.J. Redick, rookie Andrew Nicholson, Ish Smith, and Josh McRoberts.
Season standings: The Nets are 1-2, having dropped two straight to Minnesota and Miami, respectively. The Orlando Magic are 2-2 but have also dropped two straight, one to Chicago and another to Minnesota.
How could you be: MO HARKLESS!?
The under/overlying story: Brook Lopez was the major asset the Nets offered to the Orlando Magic in their pursuit of Dwight Howard. It failed, mostly because Orlando saw Lopez as an unworthy, overpaid player. Can Lopez PROVE THE DOUBTERS WRONG!?
The Nets will win if... Their pick-and-roll offense starts to click, Joe Johnson starts quietly abusing opponents, and Lopez takes advantage of an inexperienced Orlando frontcourt and an opportunity to prove to Orlando that he was a worthy asset they lost out on.
The Magic will win if... Glen Davis goes SuperBaby, Lopez presses/wilts/can't take his mind off Disneyworld, the defense continues to struggle without Gerald Wallace, and the general lack of depth on the wings leaves the Nets without the requisite 48-minute firepower on both ends.
In 2K13: Nets win, 109-97. Even without Childress and Wallace, the Nets take the Magic down behind 26 points & 11 assists from Deron Williams. Brook Lopez added 22 points and Joe Johnson 19, as the Nets shot 54% from the field en route to the victory. Kris Humphries added 15 rebounds. J.J. Redick led the Magic with 18 points.
Nets 2K13 Record: 4-0
2K13 Prediction Record: 1-2