It’s Friday night, and the Nets took care of business.
While the Magic tried to drown Brooklyn in three-pointers, the Nets overcame the effort and a late Orlando run for a 126-121 victory, their first win of the season.
The man who did his best to take away Brooklyn’s win was Nikola Vucevic. The big man was a force to be reckoned with, scoring 41 points total, making 6 of 8 three-pointers and pulling down 12 rebounds.
After an 11-0 run in the first quarter and a two-point lead at halftime, the Nets turned on an extra gear in the third quarter. D’Angelo Russell was igniting Brooklyn’s offense with his sharp steals, recording three on the night.
The Nets also carved their way with blocked shots. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson registered 3 blocks and continued his contribution on offense with 15 points.
Jarrett Allen, Trever Booker and Allen Crabbe chipped in with blocks of their own.
Another big way Brooklyn had an edge was at the free throw line. The Nets made 25 of 35 free throws shots, compared to Orlando’s 13 of 15.
While the Magic made 18 threes tonight, twice as many as Brooklyn, the Nets had the edge both in the paint and on the bench. Brooklyn scored 60 points in the paint to Orlando’s 38 and had 64 bench points to Orlando’s 34.
Spencer Dinwiddie was a big part of Brooklyn’s advantage in bench points. He was leading the Nets through the fourth quarter, taking advantage of second-chance points and running the offense.
Dinwiddie was one of five Nets that scored 15 or more points and 11 different Nets contributed tonight. Every Net that hit the floor scored at least three points.
When the fourth quarter came, the game was on the line. The lead shifted often as both teams traded baskets. Joe Harris had an impact through that stretch, draining threes and pull-up jumpers to put the Nets ahead.
Russell also had six points in the fourth quarter, gesturing to his wrist to say what time it was. You know what time it was.
Trevor Fournier had a late chance at a game-tieing three, but it was short. It’s a new year, and the Nets are victorious (and undefeated at home).
The stats: 16 PTS, 6-15 FG, 2-5 3PT, 5 REB, 5 AST, 1 TOV, 2 STL
With Jeremy Lin out of the lineup, Dinwiddie got his time to shine tonight. He impressed while in the lineup, even getting some nifty shots to go down in the paint. He’ll be getting more playing time from now on, so it’s good to see him so comfortable from the get-go.
The stats: 12 PTS, 4-11 FG, 0-4 3PT, 1-3 FT, 1 REB, 2 AST, 3 TOV, 2 STL, 1 BLK
LeVert struggled a bit on offense tonight, but he was on the court during some of Brooklyn’s key runs. He made his presence known on defense instead, recording two steals and a block. It will be interesting to see how Kenny Atkinson incorporates LeVert into the lineup more with Lin’s absence.
The stats: 10 PTS, 4-6 FG, 2-4 3FG, 3 REB, 1 AST
Joe Harris was a big boost for his team tonight, and he has not disappointed with his shot so far this season. He was key when Brooklyn could have gotten into trouble down the stretch in the fourth quarter, but after his two straight baskets, the Nets did not trail again.
Brooklyn will need him to continue in that go-to role in tough moments in the future, he’s a reliable hot hand the team needs.