The Orlando Magic, in the midst of a very rough stretch of games, received a breather Friday night as the New Jersey Nets, without top players Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, came to visit O-Town. In a rather dull, low-scoring, sloppy game, six Magic players scored in double figures in an 86-70 Magic victory. The Magic outshot the Nets 50.7% to 33.7%, but committed 20 turnovers.
Dwight Howard, who waived the early-termination option of his contract Thursday to ensure he would remain with the Magic through next season, led the Magic with 18 points on 8 of 10 shooting along with 6 rebounds, 3 blocks. Ryan Anderson contributed with a double-double of 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks, though he was just 1 of 7 on three-pointers. Jameer Nelson continued his improved play of late, scoring 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting along with 6 assists, though he did commit 4 turnovers. Glen Davis led the Magic reserves with 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting.
The Nets were so punchless that only one Nets' starter, former Magic guard DeShawn Stevenson, scored in double figures with 11 points. Reserve guard Gerald Green led the team with 14 points, and all his points came in the first half. Reserve forward Jordan Williams was the only other Net in double figures with 10 points.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;|
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
The Magic extended their lead to 43-29 in the second quarter after a Nelson three-pointer with 3:11 remaining in the half, but the Nets scored seven points in a row and cut their deficit to 43-36 after a Green three-pointer. A Nelson three put the Magic in front 46-36 at the half. Orlando shot 52.9% for the half, compared to 38.5% for New Jersey. The Nets' starters were truly awful in the first half, combining for just 7 points on 2 of 17 (11.8%) shooting. The Nets' bench was much better, combining for 29 points on 13 of 22 (59.1%) shooting.
The Magic increased their lead to 67-47 with 4:11 remaining in the third after another Nelson three, but a long three-pointer at the end of the third by the Nets' Stevenson enabled the Nets to cut the Magic lead to 72-60 going into the fourth. The Magic shot 61.1% in the third.
The fourth quarter proved to be particularly ugly, especially for the Nets. They scored only two points in the first six minutes of the period, as the Magic effectively put the game away and led 81-62 with under six minutes remaining. The Nets scored only 10 fourth-quarter points on horrific 4 of 26 shooting (15.4%), including missing all five three pointers. The Magic weren't much better, scoring just 14 points in the fourth on 5 of 15 (33.3%) shooting on their way to the 86-70 win.
The Magic were able to focus on basketball after all the trade talk distraction of the past several weeks, and take advantage of a New Jersey team playing without its two best players. The Magic definitely need to clean up their game as far as turnovers go, though. Too many times Friday night, they went for the fancy pass, and in general did not do a good job of taking care of the ball. Offensive rebounding also proved to be a problem, with the Magic grabbing only four offensive boards compared to 12 for New Jersey. The Magic's defense and good shooting were more than enough for the victory against the undermanned, struggling Nets.
Other game notes:
-J-Rich returned to the starting lineup and scored 10 points along with 3 assists, 3 steals, and a block.
-Hedo Turkoglu added 10 points along with 6 assists, but with 4 turnovers.
-The Nets' reserves outscored the Nets' starters 43-27, with the starters shooting a combined 9 of 40 (22.5%).