Nikola Vucevic doubles up as Magic rout Nets at home
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic ended two negative streaks while ruining Jason Kidd’s first game as an NBA head coach.
Third-year center Nikola Vucevic and rookie point guard Victor Oladipo both had 19 points as the Magic outplayed the Brooklyn Nets in the second half of a 107-86 victory Sunday night.
It was the second straight win for Orlando, which hadn’t won back-to-back games since Dec. 19, 2012, a stretch of 60 games. It also stopped a four-game losing streak to the Nets, who swept Orlando last season winning the four games by an average of 19.8 points.
Andrew Nicholson, a second-year reserve forward, added 17 points and 11 rebounds and Arron Afflalo had 16 points and a career-high eight assists for Orlando.
“That group in the other locker room (Nets) is very impressive, they’re Hall of Famers,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said referring to offseason acquisitions Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and All-Star guard Deron Williams. “If we played them one-on-one, we’d lose. If we come with a collective responsibility approach at both ends of the floor, we have a chance and our guys did that at both ends of the floor.”
The Magic limited Brooklyn to 38.2 percent shooting (34 of 89), outrebounded the Nets 54-42, and allowed only Brook Lopez and Pierce to reach double figures.
Lopez had 21 points and Pierce added 16.
The Nets’ backcourt of Williams and Joe Johnson were a combined 5 of 17 from the field and Garnett made just 3 of 11 shots. Pierce was the top rebounder with seven.
“We wanted to dictate the game and I think we did that,” Vaughn said. “We made them take the shot we wanted, we got a chance to rebound the basketball and we got a chance to push the ball up the floor, which is what we wanted to do.”
Vucevic said the Magic played well on the defensive end.
“We know we’ve got to just keep being aggressive at that end,” he said.
Kidd, who was suspended for the first two games of the regular season because of a drunk driving charge, didn’t like his team’s performance at either end of the court, especially in the second half. The Magic shot 50 percent in the second half, while outscoring the Nets 68-48.
“We didn’t execute defensively when we needed to and we shot 30-something percent,” Kidd said. “We moved the ball. Guys were touching it, but we missed some wide-open looks and we made those last game (against Miami).”
The Nets, who defeated two-time defending NBA champion Miami on Friday night, were embarrassed by their performance two days later.
“The win against Miami doesn’t mean a thing when you come here and lay an egg, which is what we did,” Williams said. “We knew they were a young team and were going to play hard. We had to be ready to match their intensity and we weren’t. They looked like they wanted it more and that is unacceptable.”
The Magic (2-2) used a 17-4 run early in the third quarter to break open a close game. They led by 15 points after three quarters, then Oladipo scored six straight at the start of the fourth.
His last basket was a steal off Williams and a breakaway dunk that put Orlando up 82-61 with 10:11 left. The Nets never got closer than 16 points after that.
The Magic’s reserves outscored Brooklyn’s 45-30.
Neither team was able to sustain momentum for more than a few possessions in the first half.
The Magic started the game with a 5-0 run and that was the biggest lead of the first half for either team. There were five ties and 12 lead changes in the first 24 minutes that ended with Orlando squeezing out a 41-28 lead.
Maurice Harkless started the second half with consecutive 3-pointers to propel Orlando on the 17-4 run that gave it a 58-42 lead with 7:10 left in the third quarter.
Shaun Livingston replaced Williams and the Nets temporarily came to life, but couldn’t sustain it. A dunk by Livingston, a 17-foot jumper from Johnson, his first basket of the game, and an end-to-end drive and dunk by Pierce cut the deficit to 61-52, but the run ended there.
Oladipo scored eight straight Magic points and handed a no-look assist to Vucevic for a dunk that pushed Orlando’s lead back to 15 and the Magic finished the quarter with a 74-59 lead.
NOTES: The starting five for Brooklyn will make a combined $81 million this season. Orlando’s starters will make a combined $22 million.