Nets 107, Magic 68. Sometimes a final score just says it all.
Yes, every team has nights where the shots will not fall or the ball does not bounce the right way. A lot of that happened for sure in Orlando's loss to Brooklyn on Friday night at Amway Center. But it was much more than that.
It was Brook Lopez ripping a rebound away from Nikola Vucevic and scoring a put back on the offensive glass on the very first possession of the game. It was the Nets responding from a 7-0 Magic run to open the second half with a 22-2 run to put the game far beyond the Magic's reach. It was a suffocating defense trapping the ballhandlers in the corners and preventing any drives or cuts toward the basket.
It was thorough domination.
There were a lot of infamous records set for the Magic. This was the just the fourth game in Magic history where the team attempted eight or fewer free throw attempts. It was the third game in Magic history with four or fewer free throws made (the Magic have never made fewer than four free throws in a game).
The 39-point margin of victory is the eighth time in team history that the team has been beaten by 39 or more points, the first time since a 40-point loss to Chicago in April 2005.
This was exactly what the experts said would happen.
The Magic were caught sleeping on numerous occasions as the defense rotated and struggled to get out to shooters. Brooklyn began pulling away in the second quarter with Jerry Stackhouse scoring 11 points in the second quarter to build a double-digit lead.
They were caught sleeping underneath the basket too. Brooklyn grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and clearly had an advantage on the glass because of Orlando's missed shots. Andray Blatche set the pace in the second quarter too with 15 points and nine rebounds for the game. He was active around the basket and Orlando frankly had trouble with his size around the rim.
The Magic had trouble with that in general. Brook Lopez started off strong and got the Nets out on the right foot with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. His rim protection prevented Orlando from attacking the basket and gettign to the free throw line. The Magic got those previously mentioned eight free throw attempts, but did not have any in the first half.
Jacque Vaughn attributed to the lack of free throw attempts and the trouble on the glass to a lack of physicality and commitment both to the offense and to the defense. He said for the offense to work, each player has to be cutting and playing hard to score.
The Nets defense has struggled to this point in the season. Tonight though the defense did a good job keeping Orlando from getting to the basket, forcing turnovers and forcing Orlando into difficult situations and traps in the corner.
E'Twaun Moore might have been the lone offensive bright spot with 18 points and five assists, hitting four 3-pointers. He struggled though with six turnovers and a couple of unforced errors. The Magic just struggled to find much rhythm, committing 18 turnovers. The transition defense wsa bad giving up 24 points off turnovers.
Orlando still had a chance to maybe cut into the lead. But that 24-2 run or whatever it was in the third quarter did everything in. That is when Deron Williams (12 points, four assists) and Joe Johnson (13 points) finally did enough to help the Nets pull away.
The Magic never had an answer. They never had that player to force action and make good things happen for them. And without that, and without the energy needed to get out in transition and finish easy baskets, that spelled a really awful game.