On Friday night, the Nets defeated the Orlando Magic by a final score of 107-68.
The Skinny: Brook Lopez was dominant in the paint to start the game, scoring 11 of the Nets’ first 15 points. But turnovers and a few defensive lapses kept the Magic in the game after the first quarter. Brooklyn’s second unit, led by Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson and 18-year NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse, controlled the pace offensively and defensively to start the second quarter, helping the Nets establish a 14-point lead at the break. Orlando opened the third with a 7-0 run, but the Nets answered right back with a 25-8 run to take a 24-point lead to close out the quarter. Brooklyn increased the lead to more than 30 and cruised to an easy win.
High Scorers: E’Twaun Moore of the Magic led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. For the Nets, Blatche led the team with 15 points off the bench in just 24:10 and pulled down nine rebounds.
Key Stats: The Nets’ bench outscored the Magic’s bench, 55-18. Combined, Nets’ centers, Blatche and Lopez, scored 29 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Every player on the Nets that entered the game scored.
Who Was Hot: Lopez recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and he also added three blocks while playing just 23:50. Stackhouse scored 11 points in just 10:07 off the bench in his Nets debut, matching his season-high from last season. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams combined for 25 points. Aaron Afflalo scored 12 points for Orlando on 6-of-12 shooting.
Who Was Not: After averaging 17.8 points coming into the game, J.J. Redick only scored four points in 23:27. Magic centers, Nikola Vucevic and Gustavo Ayon, combined for -32 during their time on the floor.
Fun Fact: With the win, the Nets snap their 10-game losing streak against the Magic. Keep in mind though that Orlando had Dwight Howard during that streak. The Nets also snapped a 15-game losing streak in the state of Florida against the Magic and the Heat. The 39-point win marked the first time since Feb. 7, 2009 against the Nuggets in which the Nets won a game by 30-plus points.
Jim Mancari, ContributorThe Nets needed a strong effort tonight after two tough losses, and that’s exactly what they got. The defense was finally able to hold its opponent to under 100 points in a game.
Granted, the Magic were without Jameer Nelson, Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu, but the Nets, especially the second unit, played with an intensity they hadn’t exhibited this season.
Lopez really set the tone early, as he scored more points in the first quarter in this one than he did in the entire game against the Heat. Maybe he was motivated by the fact that the Magic did not want to pull the trigger on a Dwight Howard trade if Lopez was to be the centerpiece.
There are still some things Avery Johnson’s bunch needs to work on, but this was a close to complete effort, which hopefully the team can build upon.
Brooklyn (2-2) will wrap-up the home-and-home series with the Magic Sunday at Barclays Center. The 3 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.