|Keith Bogans and Joe Johnson lit up the Magic from three-point range tonight, combining for 25 points on 6-11 shooting from behind the arc|
Another poor third quarter made the chances of an easy Nets win much more slim, but ultimately wasn't bad enough to allow the lowly Orlando Magic into seizing the lead from the home team tonight at the Barclays Center. In sweeping the four-game season series from Orlando, the Nets weathered a shaky middle of the game by coming out of the gate strong and closing very well, building their lead in the fourth quarter to 20 points or above a few times. Sure, it's only the Magic, but after that awful weekend against the Grizzlies and Rockets, any win would have done the job to put the team back on the right track.
Clearly itching to put something in the winning column after a few losses in a row, Brooklyn started off tonight's game hot and with a purpose, shooting 65 percent in the first quarter ti run out to a quick 30-20 lead after 12 minutes of play, a 10-point lead that would basically represent the deficit the visiting Magic faced throughout the evening. The second quarter was much more of the same from the Nets, just being that it was the second-team that provided the scoring punch. Threatening to put the game out of the way fast, they extended their advantage to 18 points a few times but would slacken to just 16 by half.
Without fail, the seemingly easy Nets win turned into a much closer game than was imagined of, due to the nightmarish third quarter that has plagued the Nets this entire season. Suddenly, Brooklyn was throwing turnovers around like nothing while Orlando caught on fire from the field, taking advantage of the multitude of opportunities they were given by their opponent. Helped out by ice-cold shooting from the Nets, the Magic were able to cut their deficit to seven after the horrendous third in time for the final stretch of the game.
Fortunately for the Nets, the fourth quarter was about as smooth sailing as possible. A 9-0 run to kick off the quarter made it a 79-63 and, for all intensive purposes, put the game away and locked it in as another home win for Brooklyn. For the most part, all the bad tastes of the weekend are gone as the Nets look ahead to take on the Heat on Wednesday.
Some other observations I had from the game: Keith Bogans had a big bounceback game after a few poor efforts on Friday and Saturday, scoring 12 points on 4-7 three-point shooting and hitting a few momentous corner threes that swung the game's pendulum in favor of the Nets…..The Big Three of Brook, Joe, and D-Will was at it again, with each player having a great game to anchor the starting five. Brook scored 16 points on 6-8 shooting, D-Will scored 20 and dished out nine assists with the help of four of his own threes, and Joe knocked in a modest 13 on 5-10 shooting. When those three play well, it's hard for the Nets to lose….MarShon Brook saw an increased role in the game, playing 17 minutes, hitting some of his usual crazy shots, and even showing some solid passing skills to set up his other teammates.
The Nets look to use their momentum from tonight's win on Wednesday in a national TV game at the Barclays Center against the Miami Heat.