The Brooklyn Nets contrite their trend of surprising teams and taking home victories. Last night was no different. the Nets fought back from a 21 point deficit in the first half to steal a 117-115 win from the Orlando Magic at Amway center in Orlando.
When guard D’Angelo Rusell’s streak of 19 points in the third quarter, the Magic were able to stop the Nets as they shopped away at the lead through the second half.
“A 20 point lead is nothing in the NBA” said Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford. “Even for this league, they have a lineup that’s very difficult to defend. `It’s a ton of skill and a ton of shooting.”
The Magic appeared to have the game in hand as they took advantage of Brooklyn’s fatigue from going into overtime and taking out the Houston Rockets 145-142 in overtime on Wednesday.
The Nets were slow to get to loose balls, short on shots, and being out worked, and out shot by the Magic. Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, and DJ Augustine had their way on the Brooklyn interior in the first half.
Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell was the one bright spot for the Nets as he came out and carried the team, ending the first half with 24 points, including going 6 for 8 from beyond the arc in the first half, keeping the Nets in striking rage at the end of the half when Orlando was up 67-54. Russell went on to score 40 for the night.
In the second half, Brooklyn adjusted to a zone defense and came out sharper. Russell increased his scoring, adding an additional 7 points in the quarter. Spencer Dinwiddie woke up in the third and added 9 more points, and Shabazz Napier started hitting 3 point shots and the Nets Trimmed the lead down to 9.
The Magic were outscored 32-28 in the third quarter, but most notably, there leading scorer, Aaron Gordon, strained his lower back and left the game. Gordon could only manage 2 minutes and 4 points in the fourth quarter for a total of 23 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists for the night.
“I watched (Friday’s loss) from (the Magic locker room) and I thought we had it. We played hard but we just had a couple of mistakes down at the end,’’ said Gordon, who said the lower back stiffness he experienced felt similar to the pain he had in November. “Injuries are a part of the game and I’ve just got to do a better job of taking care of my body so that I can be out there helping my team.’’
The Nets outscored the Magic 31-20 in the fourth, and brought the game to single digits as time crept on. It seemed like the Magic had the openings, but the shots didn’t drop, and as the quarter moved on, there was a lot of back and forth until the end.
The Magic had their opportunities to take the game, including a key hook shot by Nikola Vucevic to tie the game at 113-113 with :33 seconds remaining.
Russell countered at the other end of the floor with a dagger of a 3-point shot that gave the Nets a 116-113 lead.
Terrance Ross was fouled while trying to sink a 3-point shot for the Magic, but made only 2 of his 3 foul shots, taking the game to 116-115 Nets.
The Magic fouled Spencer Dinwiddie with :09 second left. Dinwiddie made just one of his two foul shots.
Evan Fournier had an opportunity in the final seconds but came up short on a 7 foot jumper as the game ended.
Brooklyn shot just 45.4 percent from the floor, but it made 19 3-pointers.
The Magic shot an amazing 50% from the field and was 10-26 from 3-pt range.
The Magic next face superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the second game of a home back to Back tonight at Amway.