The Brooklyn Nets continued their impressive stretch of play Tuesday by blowing out the Orlando Magic, 101-90. The visiting Magic trailed by just four points at halftime before an exceptionally poor third quarter did them in.
Jameer Nelson contributed nine points and 10 assists for Orlando, narrowly missing his third double-double in the Magic's last four games. Kyle O'Quinn led Orlando with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Brooklyn got balanced scoring throughout its roster, but Andray Blatche served as its leader, tallying 18 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce, the Nets' starting forwards, scored 13 points apiece.
Nelson set the tone for Orlando in the early going, assisting on each of its first five baskets, the last of which gave the Magic a 13-12 lead. He headed to the bench for E'Twaun Moore moments later and the Nets immediately wrested control of the game, building a six-point lead in the fewer than five minutes Nelson sat. With no one apart from Nelson able to consistently get all the way to the rim off the dribble, Orlando's offense ground to a halt, with the ball too often staying stapled to one side of the floor.
That lead increased to eight on a runner from Joe Johnson, but Arron Afflalo made a key play for the Magic to close the first quarter, picking off an errant Deron Williams pass and streaking to the basket for a layup just before time expired, bringing the Magic to within six.
The Magic never took the lead in the second quarter, but they did tie the score on two occasions. Brooklyn answered with buckets after each, with Johnson's spinning floater in traffic just before the buzzer putting it up by four at halftime.
Brooklyn built its lead to as much as 19 in the third quarter as the Magic went into a slump, missing their first six shots until Nelson found Glen Davis cutting to the rim for a layup at the 7:20 mark. With Brooklyn's switch-happy defense stymying the Magic, the Nets' offense found another gear, moving the ball from side to side and exploiting mismatches that its defensive switches created at the other end.
Orlando shot just 3-of-21 from the floor in the third quarter, allowing Brooklyn to build its lead to 17 points at its conclusion.
The Magic opened the fourth quarter by hitting eight of their first nine shots, but couldn't get enough stops to seriously get back into the game. Back-to-back baskets from Blatche--one a driving dunk over O'Quinn, the other a three in front of Orlando's bench--put Brooklyn up by 19 points and caused the Barclays Center crowd to erupt. O'Quinn found Maurice Harkless for an easy dunk on Orlando's next trip, but the Nets responded with a three-pointer by Mirza Teletović, continuing the rout.
The Magic finished the game down just 11 points, but please be assured that the outcome was not as close as the score might indicate.