Magic Spanish broadcaster Joey Colon was completely bundled up from his perch in the press area at Barclays Center. The entrance to the arena was right by where he was sitting, bringing in the draft of the mega storm going on outside into the arena.
Maybe he is the only one who can appropriately answer who was colder in that third quarter: him or the Magic?
They were pretty close to putting a chill on the inside of Barclays Center with a 3-for-21 shooting performance in the third quarter coming out of the locker room. The Nets tightened up their defense after giving up 50 percent shooting in the first half and the Magic failed to find any rhythm on that end of the floor.
Brooklyn is too experienced for Orlando to make those kind of mistakes. The Nets turned those mistakes into points and dominated the second half for a 101-90 win on Tuesday.
Brooklyn led comfortably the entire second half for the most part with the Magic closing the gap some in garbage time in the fourth quarter. The effort was never bad. The Magic were playing hard. It just seemed as if they were pressing.
The Nets packed the paint extremely well in the second half, preventing the Magic from even gettinginto the paint it seemed. They always had a guy rotated over to cut off the dribble penetration and a helper rotated over to take away the first outlet.
This is how Brooklyn fans must have envisioned this team playing for so long. The Magic were just incapable of finding a rhythm on the offensive end.
Their defense was strong in the second quarter, forcing some turnovers and getting out on the break. The Nets’ offensive dip would not last much longer than that. And they certainly got better with the defensive stops they were able to get.
Orlando was not getting those stops and could not force a rhythm with their shots. It was contested mid-range jumper after contested mid-range jumper.
Jameer Nelson recorded eight of his 10 assists in the first half, and fell one point shy of a third double double in four games. Nelson was able to create those opportunities by getting into the paint and looking to pass. He was probing and decisive. The lanes through the paint were closed off in the second half for him and for everyone else on the Magic.
Nelson shot 2 for 6 and missed all three of his shots in the second half. Arron Afflalo scored 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting. Tobias Harris was 3 for 8, Victor Oladipo was 3 for 9, and Glen Davis was 5 for 11 from the floor. None of Orlando’s key scorers found much rhythm.
Part of that was certainly matchups. The Nets big guard lineup that featured Shaun Livingston, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce simply dwarfed their Magic defenders (Jameer Nelson, Victor Oladipo and Arron Afflalo). They used that matchup advantage heavily in building a first-quarter lead. They used it again to pull away in the third quarter when the ball went into the half court.
And then they just made shots.
Outside of Kyle O’Quinn’s strong 15-point, eight-rebound performance, the Magic just did not have the luxury of making shots all night or getting much rhythm.
To win games, the Magic have to heat up from the floor. Hopefully they avoid the cold snap when they hit Florida tonight.