The Orlando Magic finally broke it’s losing streak against the Brooklyn Nets with a hard fought 102-89. This is the Magic’s first win against them this year and their second win after a 4 game losing streak.
The Magic have been fading from this years playoff picture, and the past two wins against Eastern Conference opponents definitely helps. They are 3 games back from the Miami Heat, who are in the 8th and last playoff spot.
Both teams came into the game on Saturday coming off of busy schedules, this being the Magic’s 10th game in 17 days and the Nets with a similar schedule.
Naturally, the beginning of the game was sloppy with poor shooting in the 1st quarter, but Vucevic proved to be a solid presence by giving Orlando 12 points in the in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Vucevic, who was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in his NBA career on Thursday, scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his team-best 36th double-double of the season.
Brooklyn was playing without Spencer Dinwiddie, who was solid against the boys in blue in the Nets last win over them.Brooklyn guard D’Angelo Russell, who was named to an all-star on Friday as a replacement for the injured Victor Oladipo, had 23 points and six assists, but only eight of those points came after halftime.
The fatigue was there, but the Magic, despite missing Jonathan Simmons and Mo Bamba, pushed through.
“You could see it with both teams – they have been playing a lot too – but our intensity was good, and the defense was good,’’ Magic coach Steve Clifford said.
Aaron Gordon scored 15 points, but he made just six of 17 shots. A game after grabbing a career-best 13 rebounds, Jonathan Isaac chipped in 10 points, 12 boards, three steals and three blocked shots.
Wes Iwundu gave the Magic a huge spark in the third quarter and finished with 10 points and six rebounds. D.J. Augustin added 12 points and eight assists
“Every game we need, especially right now with the position that we’re in,’’ Iwundu said of the Magic trying to make a playoff push. “Going in to All-Star break this is a tough stretch for us, but we’ve got to push through, man and try to put some wins together. We really need to put ourselves in a good spot so that we can be fighting for a playoff spot.’’
The road ahead has some tough matchups for the Magic. They face the Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, Karl Anthony Townes on Saturday February 7th.
The start off after the All-star break facing Karl Anthony Townes and the Milwaukee bucks on Saturday February 9th, the start of a three game road trip.