It was another case of hanging around, but unable to close, as the Nets sat tied with Orlando with four minutes left, the Magic went on a 13-7 run to finish the game, and walked away with a 117-111 win in Orlando.
The Brooklyn Nets looked to carry the momentum from Wednesday’s win against the Los Angeles Lakers into Florida as they visited the Orlando Magic. Coming in, Brooklyn had yet to win back to back games this season. The Magic have a record of 11-16, coming off a five point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, and had lost three of four.
The Nets will meet Orlando twice more this season, once in each city. April Fool’s day in Brooklyn, then five days later back in Orlando on April sixth.
Jeremy Lin was back in the lineup, but again coming off the bench, after missing the Nets last game with Back tightness. Prior to the Nets game vs Houston on Monday, Lin hadn’t played since November 2nd.
Orlando started D.J. Agustin and Evan Fournier in the back court, while the Nets stuck with the familiar duo of Isaiah Whitehead and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Early in the game, both teams drove to the basket, and Nets fan shielded their eyes for a moment as it looked like Serge Ibaka was about to re-create the Larry Nance Jr. poster on Brook Lopez, before softly flushing the ball for the and-one.
— TampaBaySRH (@TampaBaySRH) December 17, 2016
The Nets bench kept them in it in the first quarter, with Jeremy Lin running the point and Anthony Bennett getting to the rim for easy points as well as hitting a three. The Nets bench went on a 10-0 near the end of the quarter, and finished the frame with a 28-25 lead, while shooting 55% from the field.
Brooklyn’s bench outscored Orlando 10-2, including four points from Lin on 2/2 from the field. Serge Ibaka, Evan Fournier, and Sean Kilpatrick all had six points to lead the game after the first.
The Nets, primarily a jump shooting team. scored 32 of their first 50 points in the paint, but were then stymied on back to back possessions by Orlando’s big front court tandem of Bismak Biyombo and Serge “Iblocka” as Ian Eagle referred to him. Lopez then fouled Biyombo hard on a fast break on the next possession, and after review it was ruled a common foul. Biyombo, who shoots 45% from the line, shot 4/6 on free throws in the half.
The Magic took a 53-52 to lead to the break, powered by thirteen points and six rebounds off the bench by Nikola Vucevic. Brook Lopez led the Nets with ten points, while Sean Kilpatrick scored six and pulled down six rebounds. The Nets had trouble with Orlando’s bigs, in Vucevic, Ibaka, and Biyombo, who grabbed six offensive rebounds, leading to second chance opportunities.
Jeremy Lin logged ten minutes in the first half, and his presence was felt, as he lead the Nets on that 10-0 run in the first, and totalled six points, two assists, and two rebounds.
Brook Lopez took part in his 510th career game, which ties him with Chris Morris for fourth in Nets history.
The Nets kicked off the 3rd quarter with a 6-0 run to take a five point lead. It’s well documented that Brooklyn is by far the worst third quarter team in the NBA, being outscored by an average of seven points. Tonight they got out of the third still down just one, even though Orlando had twelve more field goal attempts in the quarter. The Magic held an 83-82 lead after both teams scored 30 in the third, Lopez lead the Nets with 18, while Vucevic had a game high 21.
With four minutes remaining the game was tied at 101, Brooklyn was over the foul limit, Orlando did not have a foul in the quarter. After a Kilpatrick three, DJ Augustin scored five in a row for Orlando forcing a Nets timeout, with the Magic up 106-104 with 2:53 left. Evan Fournier hit a clutch three to put Orlando up five. The Nets could not muster anything offensively, and neither could Orlando, but the Magic got to the line and made their free throws, (14/15 in the fourth) that was enough to pick up the win, snapping a streak of six straight losses at home.
Brook Lopez fouled out with twenty seconds left, but by then it was over.
Final foul and free throw numbers:
Orlando 16 fouls, 30/38 free throws.
Brooklyn 29 fouls, 22/26 free throws.
The Magic shot just 40% compared to the Nets 48%, but Orlando took fourteen more shots, thanks to the thirteen offensive rebounds.
The Nets fell to 7-18 on the season and face Philadelphia on Sunday in the second of a three game trip.
The stats: 22 PTS, 9/19 FG, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 5 BLK, 4 TOV
As Ian Eagle pointed out, Brook Lopez is not afraid to meet opposing players on the way to the rim. Lopez was on the wrong side of a pair of those tonight, but also blocked five shots.