Spellbound: Magic 115, Nets 111 (GAME GRADES)

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The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

The Nets put up a listless first half defensively, letting E’Twaun Moore go off in the second quarter and taking bad or easy shots early in the shot clock.

The Nets clawed back in in the third quarter, thanks to some hot shooting from Mirza Teletovic and game management from Joe Johnson, and had a chance to put it away in the fourth behind Joe Johnson’s heroics, but it wasn’t enough as Kyle O’Quinn blocked a Joe Johnson three-pointer and the Magic hit their free throws down the stretch.

Given the effort in the first half, they didn’t really deserve to win this game, but considering how close they made it, this one still stings.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

Kept his steal streak going and played like he needs rest.


I love that even on the second night of a back-to-back when everyone on the Nets is playing like they’ve been awake celebrating since they beat the Heat Tuesday night, Joe Johnson is still his usual, boring, solid scoring self with an incredible knack for scoring in crunch time.

Only had one real brain fart: at the end of the third quarter with the ball and the shot clock off, Johnson fired a shot with over eight seconds left, giving the Magic a chance to race downcourt and fire up a shot. E-Twaun Moore buried the three, putting the Magic up 5 before the fourth quarter.

But Johnson took the reins of the offense down the stretch, and delivered on three occasions: a tough floater to bring the Nets within two and two shots in the paint to cut the lead to one in crunch time, but was blocked by Kyle O’Quinn on a three-point attempt that would have tied the game.

Kevin Garnett CENTER

Good stints — got his first bucket by following a Deron Williams missed layup, and played his role as the offensive fulcrum out of the high post by hitting cutters and spread-out shooters en route to a season-high six assists. Looked spry, though not 100%.


He drove baseline every time and the Magic still couldn’t stop him.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

Despite shooting six three-pointers in the game’s first six minutes (and a seventh that he shot just after accidentally stepping out of bounds), he didn’t attempt one for the rest of the half and fell short of J.R. Smith’s new NBA record set on Sunday of 22 attempts in a game. His third quarter shooting (four three-pointers) kept them within striking distance, and he drew a foul on Maurice Harkless with seconds left to keep the Nets alive. But he missed a crucial free throw, which helped put the nail in the coffin.

Marcus Thornton SHOOTING GUARD

E’Twaun Moore’s 14-point explosion in the second half, the one that put the Magic up that gave them a double-digit halftime lead, was largely on Thornton’s head, and Mo Harkless beat him backdoor on a key crunch-time play. He’s a nice thief, but his on-ball defense tonight wasn’t up to snuff.

Mason Plumlee CENTER

Lots of rim-rattling dunks, including a throw-in throw-down, and even showed off some unprecedented dribble-drive moves, but fouled out in the fourth quarter in what’s a recurring theme for his high playing time. With Jason Collins not getting playing time and Garnett at the end of his minutes limit, the Nets played the end of the game without a true center, leaving Kyle O’Quinn to get all the rebounds he wanted.

One day he’ll hit a shot from outside of the paint. It just may not be this season.