Brooklyn Nets vs. Orlando Magic Takeaways and Player Grades
Dec 16, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) shoots over Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Brooklyn Nets 118-111. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Brooklyn Nets traveled down south to the Amway Center take on the Orlando Magic Friday night. Unfortunately, horrible play down the stretch kept the Nets from being able to attain their second straight win on the season.
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For the most part, the first quarter was a back-and-forth battle between both teams. Brooklyn went on a 10-run towards the end of the period to take a 24-19 lead with 1:35 remaining in the quarter. However, the game was still close at the end of the first period, with the Nets leading, 28-25. The largest lead Brooklyn held in the first quarter was by five points.
In the second quarter, both teams continued to fight hard, but the Nets pulled away to a 37-29 lead with 9:37 remaining in the half. Orlando answered back, ending the quarter on 9-2 run to hold a 53-52 advantage at the end of one half.
The third quarter was when things started to unravel for the Nets. They got off to a strong start, regaining the lead and extending it to as much as nine. However, as Brooklyn has proven all season, they cannot sustain life for a whole third quarter. Orlando went on a 10-3 run with 4:50 to go in the third to tie the game at 73 apiece.
The Magic went on to take a 74-73 lead with 2:30 remaining in the period and led 83-82 at the end of the third.
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In the final period, fouling was a major issue for the Nets. Brooklyn was in the penalty just midway into the fourth quarter, and Brook Lopez even fouled out of the game, with 20 seconds remaining. Foul trouble, along with turnovers, were the storylines of the last quarter for Brooklyn.
With 1:36 remaining in regulation, the Nets trailed 108-113. The fact that they finished with just three more points (111) shows how their offense went for the remainder of the game. The Nets missed shot after shot, but also took too long to decide on their sets in the final seconds of the game. As a result, Orlando was able to come out on top.
Lopez led the Nets with 22 points. Jeremy Lin, who was questionable for the game, added 17 points.
Dec 16, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) and guard Jodie Meeks (20) defend during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Brooklyn Nets 118-111. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
1) Despite the loss, the Nets are getting better in the paint
Even in the loss, the Nets still held the advantage in a few categories; one of them being points in the paint. Brooklyn was dominating in the paint throughout the game and finished with a 56-50 advantage. This is largely because the Nets were driving more to the basket last night, and there is a noticeable dip in their three-pointers attempted.
Brooklyn only attempted 27 treys in Orlando, which is over six less than their average (33.2). While the Nets seem to be getting better at finding other ways to score besides relying on the three-ball, other categories cost them the game, which I will get to in my last takeaway.
2) It was a technical foul party! (Yet that somehow didn’t work in the Nets’ favor)
I don’t know what was going on in Orlando last night, but the refs were not in the mood to get into any bouts with players nor coaches. Brooklyn was assessed one technical foul after Kenny Atkinson argued with an official about a no-call on a Brook Lopez shot, while Orlando was assessed a total of four technical fouls during the game.
All of the Magic’s technicals came during the third quarter, which ironically, was the quarter in which the game began slipping away for the Nets. The third quarter has been a problem for Brooklyn all season, but it’s upsetting that even free points through technicals weren’t able to keep them in the game.
3) Too much fouling… especially in the second half
In the Nets’ most recent games (more notably against Houston and last night’s), many foul calls have been questionable, but that doesn’t excuse the Nets from the travesty that occurred last night. Brooklyn only attempted 26 free throws, compared to Orlando’s 42. That alone gives the Magic opportunities to score 16 more points than the Nets through foul shots.
Fouling was more of an issue in the second half for the Nets, especially in the fourth quarter. Brooklyn picked up four fouls within the first six minutes of the final period, placing them over the limit with plenty of time remaining. With how close the game was at this point, this is unacceptable. Getting into foul trouble hasn’t been a major concern for the Nets, but boy, it sure contributed to a dilemma the Nets couldn’t get out of last night.
Dec 16, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) defends during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Game
C, Brooklyn Nets
A-Brook Lopez was baptized yet again last night, but that didn’t affect his usual production. Lopez led the Nets with 22 points and added six rebounds and five blocks (!!!). He accomplished all this while also fouling out, which was the only downside to his time on the floor last night.
PG, Brooklyn Nets
B+Jeremy Lin had an impressive performance for his first game back from back tightness issues. Lin scored 17 points in 20 minutes of action and added three rebounds and three assists. Just his presence on the floor appeared to help the Nets, as they just looked better with him on the court. He appears to be regaining his quickness, which was more evident on a driving lineup with 34 seconds to go in the first quarter. Hopefully this is a sign that he’ll be back in the Nets’ lineup for good soon.
Up Your Game… Please
SG, Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are now 7-18 on the season. They face the Philadelphia 76ers next on Sunday.