|The Magic's lottery pick, Victor Oladipo, stole the show in Jason Kidd's coaching debut in a bad loss for the Nets|
In what was most definitely a letdown from their huge win on Friday night in Brooklyn, the Nets got destroyed tonight by the Orlando Magic in Jason Kidd's head-coaching debut. With the odd early-evening timing of the game, maybe it was sleepiness that did the Nets in, or maybe just that they severely overlooked their opponent.
The Nets and Magic started out this evening's festivities in what was basically a deadheat, with no team taking a lead of more than three. Baskets were exchanged early on as the first quarter ended with both teams at 22 points. The second quarter was much of the same, with the Magic bench (most notably Oladipo) noticeably outworking the Brooklyn reserves. That was until Brook Lopez entered the game, scored six quick points, and gave the Nets a lead.
Orlando fought back as the first half came to a close and rode four Nikola Vucevic buckets and an Oladipo layup to grab a 41-38 lead after two quarters. Not looking too bad for the Nets at half, right? When these two teams came out of their respective locker rooms for the third quarter, the Magic came ready to play and the Nets did not.
As has been the case with the current and recent incarnations of the Nets, the third quarter proved to bring doom and gloom to Brooklyn. Orlando started the frame on a 17-4 run that put the game out of reach almost immediately. The Nets settled for three-pointers they missed–instead of driving to the hoop–and committed sloppy turnovers, while also forgetting to close out on defense. The trifecta!
Brooklyn also gave up loads of offensive rebounds to the Magic that resulted in too many second-chance points which kept faltering any possible Nets' comeback attempt before it cut the deficit too close. Vucevic took over in the third, outhustling Brook Lopez for rebounds and loose balls while beating him off the block too many times. Oladipo also took advantage of the lax defense with an incredible 360 dunk that gave me flashbacks of Vince Carter.
The Magic were up 15 after the third quarter and staved off less-than-futile Nets' resistance in the fourth, holding on for a relatively easy blow-out win. There wasn't much detectable effort/energy/intensity from the Nets in this one, starkly contrasting from the fired-up team that beat the Heat a few days ago. That team fought hard to stay in the game while this one resigned to its fate with indifference.
Some other observations I had from the game: #ReggieEvansReboundCount: 5. Reggie played only nine minutes, meaning he garnered a little less than a board for every two minutes. Respectable numbers. He didn't really have much of an impact on this one because the game got out of reach when he wasn't on the floor….Andray Blatche was terrible yet again. Only hit one of the seven shots he took (one of which was a three) and committed two turnovers, but did grab five rebounds. Hasn't really looked good yet this season….Mirza Teletovic and Mason Plumlee made their season debuts. Mirza was 1-6 from the field and 0-2 from three, with an airball. Plumlee hit the only shot he took, a dunk, for the first bucket and points on his career. Fair to say these two won't be getting in for very many close games this year…..More poor shooting from Kevin Garnett (3-11) and D-Will (4-12). Neither of them did very much to help the Nets' cause tonight as their plus-minuses (-20 and -18 respectively) attest to…..Brook was pretty efficient on offense (21 points, 8-15 shooting) as was Paul Pierce (16, 6-11). The problem is both missed defensive assignments and let their men score with too much ease. Also, it's never good when your starting small forward has more rebounds (7) than your center (6). Brook has to pick up his rebounding pace soon if the Nets are going to be as good as they can be…..Joe Johnson was a complete non-factor, scoring just two points on five shots. He needs to make more of an impact…..Brook and Paul were the only two Nets in double-figures, compared to six players with more than ten points for the Magic….Reasons the Nets lost: They didn't break 40% shooting (38.2%) and were outrebounded by 12. They also weren't helped out by some missed offensive interference calls on the Magic's Vucevic that the refs somehow didn't see.
The Nets look to get back on the winning grind on Tuesday night at Barclays against the Jazz.