On Monday night, the Nets defeated the Orlando Magic by a final score of 97-77.
The Skinny: After P.J. Carlesimo said in the pre-game that the Nets would not play to their opponent’s style, Brooklyn came out firing threes from the outside. Six of the team’s first 12 shots were from beyond the arc, but this style worked, with the Nets making four threes to establish the lead. Deron Williams had another hot start, scoring 13 points to help Brooklyn close the first quarter leading by 10.
MarShon Brooks and the “Bench Mob” opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run to take an 18-point lead. The Nets kept up the offensive pace, with Brook Lopez dominating the paint upon reentering the game. Brooklyn led by 16 at the break.
St. John’s product Maurice Harkless had the hot hand to start the third quarter, which helped the Magic get to within 12 early in the frame. The Nets went cold from the field, allowing the Magic to cut the lead to as close as six. Brooklyn managed just 14 points in the third quarter and led by seven after three.
Keith Bogans drilled a straightaway three-pointer to start the fourth quarter which put the Nets back up by double-digits. Bogans later hit another three as part of a 9-0 Nets run to open the fourth. The Nets opened their largest lead of 26 points as the fourth progressed en route to victory.
High Scorers: Williams led all scorers with 20 points on 8-of-12 from the field and recorded nine assists. For the Magic, Nikola Vucevic led the way with 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds.
Key Stats: The Nets bench outscored the Magic bench, 41-14. Brooklyn also hit on 13-of-27 (48 percent) from three-point range.
Who Was Hot: Lopez finished with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Bogans gave the Nets an offensive spark off the bench, hitting on 4-of-7 from beyond the arc for 12 points. Harkless shot 7-of-10 from the field for 16 points, while Glen Davis added 15 points and five rebounds.
Who Was Not: J.J. Redick, who was coming off a career-high 31 points Sunday, shot just 2-of-13 from the field for five points. He did manage to dish out 10 assists however.
Fun Fact: With the win, the Nets have won 11 games in two separate months for the first time in franchise history. Brooklyn also had 11 wins in November.
Jim MancariThis is exactly the type of performance the Nets needed after back-to-back bad losses. Brooklyn established the lead early, and despite a brief hiccup in the third quarter, the Nets rebounded for a much-needed win.
Sure, it was against the struggling Magic, but the Nets remain the only unbeaten team in the league against sub-.500 teams (17-0). These are the games you have to win, and the Nets are doing just that.
Brooklyn swept the season series against Orlando and has now won eight straight home games – the longest such streak since a nine-game stretch from March 15 to April 6, 2006. In the four wins over the Magic, the Nets gave up an average of just 75.8 points defensively.
The “Bench Mob” was essential to the win. Bogans rejuvenated the Nets in the fourth quarter with a few big threes to open the frame.
Meanwhile, both Deron Williams and Brook Lopez continue to make a claim for the final All-Star spot on the Eastern Conference team to replace Rajon Rondo.
The Nets are now 20-9 against Eastern Conference teams. Now they just need to improve the 7-9 mark against the stronger Western Conference.
The schedule heats up as Brooklyn (27-18) will host the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat, Wednesday night. The 8 p.m. game will be televised on ESPN and the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.