Despite having both Nikola Vucevic and Jameer Nelson unavailable, the Orlando Magic more than held their own for the first two quarters against the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets.
The third quarter was another matter.
The Nets, who gave up 115 points in a loss at Orlando last week, unleashed a barrage of 3-point field goals at halftime and withstood a challenge by the Magic early in the fourth quarter to come away with a 97-88 victory.
Of the 12 3-pointers made by the Nets, seven of them were during the third quarter, when they outscored the Magic 33-21 after trailing 49-46 at halftime. The Magic shot better than 50 percent in leading for almost the entire first half but cooled off considerably after that.
They got to within six points of the lead with 5:27 remaining but went scoreless for almost the next three minutes.
Nelson was not in uniform due to a strained left groin. Victor Oladipo started in his absence and had 14 points but just one assist and six turnovers in 26 minutes.
The Magic announced Vucevic, their leader in rebounds for the second year in a row, will miss the rest of the season because of a sore left Achilles tendon which has sidelined him since April 4.
Tobias Harris led the Magic with 18 points. Andrew Nicholson had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench before fouling out for the second consecutive game. It was his first game in double figures since Jan. 2 at Cleveland.
The loss meant the Magic will finish the season with a 1-17 record in the first games of back-to-backs. Their only victory came Nov. 26 at Atlanta.
THE TURNING POINT
The Nets never trailed after outscoring the Magic 15-0 during a stretch of almost four minutes in the third quarter. The run included 3-pointers by Mirza Teletovic, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Rookie Mason Plumlee had 17 points and 11 rebounds off the Nets’ bench.
STAT OF THE GAME
Kevin Garnett, who has more than 25,000 points in his 19-year career, finished with only three points in 19 minutes and had five turnovers. It was the fourth time in as many games against the Magic this season that Garnett failed to score in double figures.
Monday night at Chicago, 8 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).