August 18, 2019

Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell were game scoring leaders for the Brooklyn Nets, perhaps, putting to rest that the two can’t be on the floor together

The Brooklyn Nets added another win to its list last night by beating the Orlando Magic 114-110. There was no scenario where it looked like it would be a blow-out on either side. The game was close all the way, just a back and forth, one team up, one team down, with the Nets pulling it out at the end.

“First of all, like I keep saying, I think they’re a really good team,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about the Orlando Magic postgame. “It’s a struggle to beat them. They have really good players. Nip and tuck, back and forth, we made mistakes and they made mistakes. I don’t think it was a perfectly played game by any means, especially on our part. I thought we were so-so overall. That’s a sign of a good team, to pull it out when you’re not at your top level.”

The Nets improved to 26-23 overall and 14-11 at Barclays Center with last night’s win against the Magic. Meanwhile, the Magic fell to 20-28 overall and 8-15 on the road with the loss. Additionally, the Nets have won five straight games, seven-straight at home, and 11 of their last 12 at Barclays Center with last night’s victory. And, if you’re wondering if the Nets are still in the NBA playoff hunt, yes, they are holding on to the sixth spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, if the NBA Playoffs were held today.

For the Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie led all players with a game-high 29 points (10-of-17 FG) with three rebounds, three assists, and a steal in 30 minutes off the bench. Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell led all Nets starters with 25 points, a game-high 10 assists, seven rebounds, and two steals in 34 minutes.

Earlier in the season, there was some chatter that Dinwiddie and Russell couldn’t co-exist on the floor together, but with the passage of time, things are looking better for this duo.

“I see more as they are meshing,” Atkinson said about their progress. “More and more every time. I know advanced stuff says they don’t play well together, but they’re going to be in at the end of the game. They’re two of our top players. Having multiple ball handlers like that is huge. They really know how to play off of each other now. Especially the plays we run at the end of the game, they’re looking out for each other. D’Angelo called a play for Spencer with under two minutes there. It was a big play. That’s the kind of altruism we have right now. Guys are really playing for each other.”

D'Angelo Russell also commented on the chemistry between him and Spencer Dinwiddie, “I just think when we’re both aggressive it works out best for us. Like I said, as we’re getting games under our belts. I think we’re realizing how to play off each other and be aggressive and kind of playmaking and make things happen every time we get the ball.”

As for the other Nets players making it happen when they got the ball, DeMarre Carroll recorded 19 points (6-of-13 FG) and four rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench for the Nets. Rodions Kurucs, a starter for the Nets and an NBA rookie, posted 13 points, four rebounds, one steal and one block in 22 minutes. Joe Harris also scored 13 points and four rebounds, and; Jarrett Allen registered a team-high 11 rebounds with six points and two assists in 29 minutes.

Leading starting scorers for the Orlando Magic were, Nikola Vucevic, who scored 21 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and four blocked shots; D.J. Augustin registered 19 points, six assists, three rebounds, and two steals; Jonathan Isaac tallied 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and three blocked shots, and; Aaron Gordon added 10 points and six rebounds.

Jonathon Simmons came off the bench for the Orlando Magic and chipped in 13 points and three assists.

Next up: the Orlando Magic head home to play the Washington Wizards on Friday, January 25, 2019. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will also be at home to host the New York Knicks at Barclays Center also on Friday, January 25, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

 

 

Brooklyn Nets capitalize on Orlando Magic’s weakened defense to treat fans to win at the Barclays Center

In front of a home-opening crowd of 16,144 people at the Barclays Center on Friday, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Orlando Magic 126-121.

Before the game’s start, no one knew what to expect as Jeremy Lin, the team’s leader, was in the hospital. He had successful surgery on Friday morning to repair a season-ending ruptured patella tendon in his right knee that he injured in the season opener against the Indiana Pacers. With Lin out, there was fear that the Nets could repeat a lost season like last season.

So, this win against the Magic felt good. Despite Lin’s absence, it showed that the Nets’ hard work over the summer and the new acquisitions paid off.

"Honestly, that's our brother, so we don't want to forget that. You don't want to forget about him," D'Angelo Russell said. "But going out there I feel like guys knew they had to step up and they did."

Russell, Trevor Booker, and DeMarre Carroll all scored 17 points. Spencer Dinwiddie added 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Booker added 11 rebounds and made the clinching free throws with 0.9 seconds left after Orlando's Evan Fournier missed a tying 3-point attempt. Carroll chipped in eight rebounds to go along with his 17 points.

Even though the Nets had a favorable outcome, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson had some reservations about the win. He gave the team some slack because the players had to get used to new rotations without Lin.

However, not totally satisfied because of the Nets' play on both ends, Atkinson said, "but still, I think we can do a better job than we did tonight."

Atkinson doesn’t want his team to get used to bad habits because they could end up like Magic center Nikola Vucevic on another day. He had a career-high 41 points in 35 minutes. However, it was not enough to lift his team past the Nets, as the Magic broke down defensively.

“Our defense is what lost us the game,” Vucevic said. “We were able to score. We just never got stops, so we never could play our game, which is at a faster pace.”

“It just wasn’t good enough on that end,” Magic head coach Frank Vogel concurred. “You’re not going to give up 126 points and win too many nights.”

But one can bet Nets rookie Jarrett Allen left the Barclays Center feeling good. He scored 9 points, pulled down 2 rebounds, and blocked a shot. Allen even had an opportunity to show off his athleticism. He had a crowd-loving in-your-face slam over Vucevic off of a Dinwiddie pass in the fourth quarter.

Go, Jarrett.

Next up, the Nets play Atlanta at the Barclays Center on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at 3:30 p.m.

Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker, and the Nets bench had a huge night

The Brooklyn Nets are now officially on their “glow-up” tour, as they beat the Orlando Magic 121-111 at the Barclays Center on Saturday evening.

The Nets have now won three of their last four home games. There is a lot to like about how the Nets are playing lately and specifically how the team played against the Magic. The Nets scored a season-high 72 points in the paint, outscoring the Magic 72-32 in the painted area. Hello!

“Brook is really hard to guard down there,” Jeremy Lin said. “We keep trying to find ways to exploit the defense with his size and his touch. I think he’s finding a great balance inside and outside. I felt like he really made his presence known tonight.”

“I thought we were very unselfish today and we got back to moving the ball – that’s the first thing J-Lin (Jeremy Lin) brought out, coming out into the start of the game,” Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez said about what got the offense clicking in tonight’s game.

“I thought we moved the ball very well. Honestly, for me, I thought the bench did such great job tonight. They came in and picked us up in the second and again in the third. They were just spectacular out there and they were the difference tonight,” Lopez continued.

Yep, the Brooklyn Nets’ bench did show out tonight. The Nets’ reserves outscored the Magic’s reserves 72-16. And this was not a fluke, as the Nets’ bench outscored Phoenix’s bench on March 23 with a season-high 81 points and back in January against New Orleans with 73 points.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson liked how his bench played in big spots.

“Similar how teams have done to us, we started to pick them up, we started denying some passes, we got into the ball,” Atkinson said. “It was an overall energy, a youthful energy. Isaiah (Whitehead) I thought was really good, Archie (Goodwin) gives us a big boost with his athleticism and how fast he is and he did a good job defensively…then (Trevor) Booker was really good on both ends.”

Lopez was overjoyed about the Nets reserves.

“It was fun to watch honestly,” Lopez said. “They did it tonight for us – no question. Again, it was just great to see that energy on the floor and our guys were so excited for them on the bench.”

At the end of the day, the game’s outcome is what really matters. However, in the first few minutes, one could not tell that Brooklyn would have such a great night. Orlando came out the gate strong scoring nine points to Brooklyn’s two in less than 3 minutes. However, like a ship in rough seas, the team got righted; Lopez scored 12 points in under 8 minutes during the first quarter. A Booker jump shot at 2:48 in the first, gave the Nets its first lead, 27-26. A back and forth ensued and a Sean Kilpatrick jump shot with less than 11 seconds to go helped the Nets to end the first quarter tied at 33-33.

Brooklyn ended the second quarter 60-53 over Orlando; and then, it was all even 89-89 at the end of the third.

And then came the fourth quarter when the Nets went on an 11-0 run and the Magic, without an answer, could not get over the hump. The Nets’ bench took over offensively and defensively.

Off the bench, Spencer Dinwiddie and Booker helped to break open a big lead for the Nets in the fourth, which did not go unnoticed by Atkinson.

“Yeah, that kind of broke it open,” Atkinson stated. “I thought Spencer made some big plays; he was really good in the pick and roll. His size, he gets in the paint and he’s a tough guy to deal with. Trevor in the pick and roll, in transition, just making the simple play, that was where we were able to break it open a little bit.”

And the performance of the Nets’ bench was certainly on the radar of the Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel.

“I think Brooklyn’s bench came in and took over the game during that stretch to start the fourth quarter to build a big lead,” Vogel said. “I credit their bench.”

“We just really drove the ball well, Atkinson said about the Nets’ overall play. I felt like we were very aggressive to the rim. In transition we got out and got some easy ones, we were really driving it and finishing at a better rate. We didn’t shoot it well from the perimeter, but I thought we got a lot of open looks. But I was pleased with our defense too for the most part. The first quarter wasn’t great, third quarter they got going. (Nikola) Vučević got going. The difference in the game was probably the bench, though. At the end of the day, I thought they really brought great energy, picked up our defense, did a great job of playing together.”

For the win, Lopez scored a game-high 30 points; Booker had a season-high 23 points, he also added eight rebounds; Kilpatrick contributed 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists, Justin Hamilton chipped in 13 points and five rebounds.

To the Magic’s credit, four of its five starters scored over 20 points: Vučević had a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds and Aaron Gordon scored 22 points and 15 rebounds. Although both Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton each had 20 points, Payton had a triple double with 11 rebounds and 11 assists to his tally, which was overshadowed by the Magic’s loss.

The Magic’s loss is the Nets’ gain and Lopez speaking for the team is excited that the hard work, the grinding it out, and staying focus through the losses was very important to getting them on the winning track.

“It was very important, very big,” Lopez said. “We just continually talked about no slippage until the very end of the season – until whatever day, April 12, 15, whatever it is, I’m not exactly sure – but we want to continue to improve, and take every opportunity we can to get better as a team.”

The Nets will be back at it tomorrow for a home back-to-back, as they face the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks at 6:00 p.m.

Nets Offense Fails in the 4th Quarter; Johnson and Larkin Miss Key Shots

In the 4th quarter, with a little over a minute left until the end of regulation, Brooklyn Nets Joe Johnson and Shane Larkin missed back-to-back threes that would have cut what was a nine-point, 83-74 deficit to six. Even with a made shot, the Nets would still have had an uphill climb in capturing the win. However, the missed shots put a spotlight on the struggles the Nets have had this season in late-game offensive execution.

On Friday night, Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic each scored 20 points and handed the Nets an 83-77 loss, their ninth straight loss at home and 3rd straight to the Magic.

It was the Nets 3rd straight loss (10-26), losing seven of their last ten games while the Magic (20-17) snapped a four-game losing streak. Once again, making plays late when they matter the most, has doomed the Nets. With 6:48 left in the 4th quarter, Brook Lopez shot a floater off of a penetration feed from Larkin.

He missed, received his own rebound, fought against Vucevic and got a hook-shot to go, tying the contest at 68 all, two of his team-high 17 points. Following the bucket, the Nets were held scoreless from the field for the next five minutes. At the most critical juncture of the game, the Nets would miss their next three shots, commit two turnovers and worst of all, fail to stop Orlando’s youth movement.

Aaron Gordon and Oladipo took turns nailing the coffin, featuring two threes’ from Oladipo and four points from Gordon. Evan Fournier who scored 13 points also added a three in the midst of a 13-2 run until Thaddeus Young stopped the bleeding with the Nets second FG in 5 minutes. During the Magic’s run, Lopez connected on two free-throws while the Nets offense fell flat.

“…In the last quarter, we just couldn’t make a play, couldn’t make a shot and again we come away with a loss,” Nets head coach Lionel Hollins said post-game also claiming that he sounds like a broken record.

To begin the game, the Nets looked like the team that would eventually lose, falling to an early double-digit lead in the first quarter. In the second and third, the Nets found better results. They battled back by increasing their defensive pressure, got out in transition and shot 80 percent from the free-throw line.

They even led by five towards the end of the third and early in the fourth. But they couldn’t hold onto it and the credit goes to the Magic’s defense for not allowing the Nets to build a substantial advantage.

“Our defense got a little bit tighter,” Magic head coach Scott Skiles said following the win. “We were playing so hard on the defensive end that I felt it took a little juice out of our offense. We were getting it up the court a little too slow. The clock winding down on us, but we were able to make a couple of shots and you need to make those.”

According to Young who scored 11 points and nine rebounds, the Nets just have to make plays.

“We just have to execute. Execute, make shots,” Young said post-game. “We had great opportunities at the basket.”

Unfortunately, the Nets had trouble finishing their opportunities at the basket. Another reason why the Nets had trouble stopping Orlando was their 3-point percentages for this game. Oladipo, who led the Magic in made threes with four, and the rest of his team drained 13 threes of 27 attempts, good for 48 percent while the Nets could not match, shooting 31 percent from long-range and 39 percent in field goals.

After another game, another loss, the Nets are stuck asking about the same problems, and in the end, have nothing to show for it.

“It gets frustrating, but you have to keep continuing to push it, keep continuing to push it, keep continuing to play and keep trying take positives from these games, Young added.”

Until the Nets win the fourth quarter, nights like Friday night will continue to occur and it gets even tougher on Monday night when they host the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs.

Heat Takes Control of the Second Half and Dwyane Wade Closes

Tonight’s game hosting the Miami Heat wasn’t Monday night’s blowout loss to the Orlando Magic. The Brooklyn Nets were in it to win it for the majority of Wednesday’s contest but towards the end of regulation, a particular star showed up and he wasn’t sporting a Brooklyn jersey. Dwyane Wade scored six of his team-high 28 points in the final six minutes of the 4th quarter propelling the Heat to a narrow 104-98 win against the struggling Nets.

The Heat improved to (15-9), their third straight win while the Nets continue to look for answers, falling to (7-18). Late in the 4th, the Nets had several opportunities to get in the win column and end their two-game losing streak, but Wade would have no part of it. He did what superstars do.

He closed.

When Thaddeus Young scored to get the Nets to within two points, down 87-89 with 5:58 left in the 4th, Wade drained a 12-foot jumper putting the Heat up by four, 91-87 at the 5:11 mark. Moments later, the Nets would turn the ball over and Wade took advantage, putting the Heat up by six, 93-87 just under five min left until the end of regulation. Wade would hit two more jumpers putting the Heat up by eight and 10 points respectively, and it just seemed like when he scored late, it hurt more than any of his fellow teammates prior.

“This is what he’s built his career on,” Heat head coach, Erick Spoelstra said post-game. “To be able to attack, to read defenses, to be able to make shots.”

Even Nets head coach, Lionel Hollins acknowledged that there was nothing they could do to cool him off.

“Well, you could decide to go double him and hopefully he passes it, but even when he did that, (Justise) Winslow hit a three, the other kid (Goran) Dragic hit a three earlier before he got to the end and that puts a little bit of caution in trying to go down there and just double-team him and taking the ball out,” Hollins said during his post-game press conference.

“He’s a great player,” Hollins added.

Chris Bosh, who scored seven, gets a front-row seat to the Wade show every night.

“He did pull a couple of things out of the bag and it was great,” Bosh said in the visitor’s locker-room.

Fortunately for the Nets, Brook Lopez validated why he’s great player also. After a disappointing outing against the Magic and Nikola Vucevic, Lopez scored 16 of his team-high 25 points in the first half, against Hassan Whiteside, who averages four blocks a game.

“It was huge for him confidence-wise to come out and play well,” Hollins said. “We need him to continue to play well offensively, but I thought he did some other stuff as well, but scoring wise he did real good.”

And Lopez’s start spearheaded the Nets 1st half surge. The Nets got off to a great start, finishing the 1st quarter with an eight-point lead, up 30-22. Every starter not named Joe Johnson contributed.

In the second, more of the same ensued. The Nets showed some fight. Even Wayne Ellington got into the act, scoring eight of his 12 in the second alone, including three straight baskets which kept the Nets ahead of the Heat. It didn’t take long until the Heat, who lead the Southeast division woke up. With 2:34 left until halftime, Goran Dragic and co. would score points leading a 9-4 run to put the Heat up by five, 55-50 going into the second half, which capped off a 33-point 2nd to regain control of the game.

And that run to end the 1st half, would carry the Heat into the second half, as they coasted, for the most part, exploiting the Nets with good ball movement. When it counted the most, Heat players turned to Wade and he delivered, which was nothing new. Other than Lopez, Jarrett Jack added a double-double (22 points and 10 assists) and Andrea Bargnani had some moments, chipping in with 10. You know what could’ve helped? Johnson producing more than five points in 33 min of play. You know what also could’ve helped? The Nets fouling after Wade put the Heat up by five, 103-98 with 43.5 secs left in the 4th.

“I told them that we needed to foul, I mean, come on,” Hollins said. “You got to foul. I got caught looking at something else, and when I looked over everybody is looking at me, but that kind of stuff happens.”

For the Nets sake, it doesn’t need to happen.

The Nets will get a day off today and on Friday will face another star. The Nets will visit Paul George and the 3rd seeded Indiana Pacers which presents another challenge. Every night seems like an uphill climb for the Nets. It is up to them whether or not that will continue and looking at their upcoming schedule beyond the Pacers, (Timberwolves on Sunday, Bulls on Monday, Mavericks on Wednesday), it just might.

 

With forced turnovers, bad shooting, and Brook Lopez not a huge factor, the Brooklyn Nets struggled against a young and athletic Orlando Magic

On Star Wars night at the Barclays Center, the force was clearly with the Orlando Magic, opposed to the host, Brooklyn Nets. To demonstrate how badly thing went for the Nets, lets skip to the 4th quarter. Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton and the rest of the Magic’s starters sat comfortably on the sidelines while the second unit finished the game because the damage to the Nets had already been done.

A second half surge revolving around defense, steals, and a consistent offensive effort, enabled the Magic to hand the Nets their second straight loss in a convincing fashion, 105-82 on Monday night.

The Magic improved to (13-11) on the season, while the Nets fell to (7-17), their third loss in the last five games.

Prior to tonight's game, Joe Johnson told What’s The 411Sports that the Nets would have to get off to a good start and keep their turnovers down. During the first half of the game, Johnson’s pregame strategy came into fruition. The Nets battled with Orlando, keeping it close and competitive, down by seven entering halftime up 52-45. In the 3rd, it all fell apart for the Nets.

Their offense struggled to keep up with the young and athletic Magic, and turnovers in addition to bad shooting, prevented the Nets from protecting their home-court. Facing an uphill climb in the fourth down by 14 points, the Nets would miss their first four shots, while the Magic enjoyed a 13-4 run, led by Andrew Nicholson who scored 10 of his 15 total points, in the 4th quarter alone.

The Magic converted eight forced turnovers into eight points while the Nets offense couldn’t find their rhythm. Even though six players scored in double-figures for the Nets, Brook Lopez, the team’s best player, on his star wars bobble-head night, wasn’t much of a factor recording 11 points total for the game.

“I definitely take responsibility for this one,” Lopez said post-game. “I felt I was a complete negative for our team. I kind of let us down, pulled us back. I definitely need to be better and know I can be. I was very frustrating.”

Where Lopez struggled, Vucevic, his counterpart flourished. The former USC Trojan scored his team-high 18 points in 27 min, 12 of which came in the 3rd. All 12 of Vucevic’s points helped extend what was a seven-point Magic lead to a double-digit advantage, setting up the second unit, who served as the clean-up crew in the 4th.

Payton, who also had a fine game-scoring 17 points and five assists-torched the Nets on the perimeter. Tobias Harris added 15 points and nine rebounds and Victor Oladipo punched in 10.

For the Nets, Jarrett Jack led all scorers with 15 points and described the Nets locker-room following the loss as “Disappointed.”

“We just didn’t perform with the necessary effort to be competitive in the game,” Jack said. “You do that, you get these embarrassing types of losses.”

Thaddeus Young, who finished his night with 10 points, also acknowledged the Nets lack of effort.

“They just played harder than us.” Young said following the loss. “They played harder than us, and they got to all the loose balls. They got to everything they wanted to do within their sets and they took away a lot of stuff that we wanted to do and forced us into tough, difficult shots that we didn’t make.”

The Nets, as a team, shot 38 percent from the field validating the Magic commitment to defense, a testament to their head coach, Scott Skiles, who lives and breathes it.

When most of your core players are questioning the effort of the team, that’s a problem, and the Nets owning one of the worst records in the league doesn’t make it any better.

Wednesday night, the Nets will host the (14-9) Miami Heat, who are in a two-way tie for first place in the southeast division.

Bogdanovic Scores a Team-high 28 Points

You can relax Brooklyn Nets fans, you’re in!

Your team made the playoffs.

At the expense of an up-and-down year, injuries and not having the pleasure of controlling their own fate, the Brooklyn Nets qualified for the 2015 NBA Playoffs, which is more than we can say about the other team across the river.

But we won't go there, these are happy times and with the Nets 101-88 win over the young and restless Orlando Magic, the home-team has given life to the Barclays Center for two more home games, and more, if necessary.

The Nets improved to (38-44) to complete their 2015 campaign, while the Magic fell to (25-57), another trip to the lottery.

And this feat only came into fruition when the Indiana Pacers, scheduled to play two hours before the Nets tip-offed against the Magic, challenged the Memphis Grizzlies and failed to mirror the same result, losing 95-83.

As far as the Nets are concerned and their faithful fans, it's not the ideal method you would've liked for your team to make the playoffs but you'll take it.

They did what they were supposed to do and that was simply handle their business against a team they were expected to beat.

It didn't look that way early on in this contest.

The Magic held minimal leads in the first half of this regular season finale and even led by ten in the third quarter, 65-55 with 8:22 remaining.

At that point, the Nets seemed to turn the tables and made one final push, run towards saving their season which favored their efforts.

An increase in defensive pressure forced missed shots an allowed the Nets to generate a 10-3 run, courtesy of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Jarrett Jack and Bojan Boganovic which cut the deficit to three, a 68-65 Magic lead with 5:41 left in the 3rd.

More of the same would continue for the Nets to end the third, in which they tied the game at 75 all, into the 4th quarter where other Nets-not mentioned above, had their moments in contributing to the win.

Mason Plumlee, off of an offensive rebound, converted the go-ahead basket at 81-80 with 9:33 left in the 4th, giving the Nets their first lead of the night since their brief 33-32 lead-midway through the 2nd quarter.

Then Joe Johnson responded to a made layup by Magic big-man, Nikola Vucevic, regaining the lead on a running jump-shot, 83-82 at the nine minute mark.

Joe JohnsonBrooklyn Nets shotting guard, Joe Johnson

The game, at this juncture in time, reached that moment where the next-5 minutes would decide the victor, and fortunately for the Nets and the 17,098 fans in attendance, they executed during that stretch and out-shot the competition.

Thaddeus Young chipped in five points, followed by treys via Johnson and Bogdanovic and before you knew it, the Nets were up 98-86 with three minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, providing relief among the fans and especially their head coach, Lionel Hollins.

Thaddeus Young 650x366Brooklyn Nets power forward, Thaddeus Young

"I am just thankful that our guys stepped up and did what they had to do," said Hollins during his post-game press conference. "That is the only thing that they had control of, was going out there. I thought that this was a big team win."

And it was.

I mentioned various names who played an integral role in this game because they all mattered.

Five players for the Nets finished in double-figures, featuring: 16 points by both Johnson and Young, 14 from Brook Lopez, 10 by Williams and a team-high 28 points by Bogdanovic, including four of eight from three-point range.

"It's a nice feeling to get a career high but it's not most important thing for us," said Bogdanovic post-game. "We have to wait for the other game to be in the playoffs. And I hope that (Indiana win) doesn't happen."

I think the most important thing that didn't happen was the Magic playing spoiler, a team who had nothing to play for.

Those teams, lottery projected teams, pose the biggest threat to teams who aspire to make the playoffs, and last night, the Nets survived a dominating performance inside by Vucevic and another piece of the Magic's future in Victor Oladipo's 19 points.

"I thought we did a good job of fighting, did a good job of keeping ourselves in the game," Oladipo said post-game. "Now we just gotta work hard, you know, get better, so we can make big plays down the stretch in fourth quarters."

Andrew Nicholson even showed his versatility for the away team, knocking down a deuce of threes en route to 18 points.

The Magic, a team rebuilding for a better future has a crop of respectable young talent and potential stars on their roster who will contribute to the star-power very soon, and because of that, Oladipo didn't dwell on the negatives, like the loss and the struggles of this season alone but the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I think we have great attributes to our team, great players," Oladipo said. "...Individually (we) just have to get better and as a team, collectively, as well. It's going to be a big summer for us, a big offseason."

Hey Nets fans, remember when your team mirrored this year’s Magic, three years ago?

Just kidding.

With the Nets win, they improved to 6-0 on the season against the Magic at the Barclays Center, in addition to finishing the month of April, 5-4, which proved to be the most crucial stat presently.

The Nets will challenge the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, which begins this Saturday.

And this starts a whole new holiday for me personally (April 18th-start of the NBA Playoffs).

As much as an achievement that is, the Nets haven't fared to well against the no.1 seed in the Eastern Conference this season, the Hawks, also-known-as the second team to 60+ wins in the NBA.

They don't have the blueprint to beat the Hawks, losing all four match-ups against the ATL this year and in close games.

This isn't the Western Conference where 12 teams can legitimately challenge the no.1 seed, the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game-series.

This is the same Eastern Conference that, in the pre-season, led me to believe that the New York Knicks could actually have an admirable season.

We all know what happened there and unlike the Knicks play this regular season, the Nets will have to give it their all, and then some.

The advantage the Nets have on their side going into the post-season is the fact that it’s a blank slate.

Everyone starts fresh and its 0-0 all.

What happened in the regular season no longer factors into the immediate future, a tournament style format which provides rest periods.

The Nets have a chance like everybody else to upset the Hawks and like coach Hollins said in his post-game press conference, the Nets will have to figure out what the Hawks fail to do well and capitalize on it.

And like all of Brooklyn, we are hoping the Nets can find a way to seize four more games, starting this weekend.

 

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