Following one of their most lopsided losses of the season against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, the Orlando Magic kicked off their 2015 slate of games with a game at home against the Brooklyn Nets. Much like Tuesday night, the opposition controlled the game for most of it. However, Orlando was able to make it interesting late, before falling 100-98.
At the start of the game, the Magic looked sharp after a couple of days of rest. Brooklyn on the other hand was sloppy, struggling to get things going consistently on the offensive end. Orlando had success on the defensive end, forcing seven Nets turnovers leading to seven points for the Magic. The Magic's offense was clicking, with the ball moving with ease, notching eight assists on 10 made field goals. Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic led all scorers, both finishing with seven in the quarter, with Sergey Karasev leading the Nets with five.
After the offense was fluid in the first 12 minutes, the Magic began to struggle mightily. While they assisted on all five of their makes, they shot a woeful 5-of-22 in the period. After shooting 62.5 percent in the first quarter, the Nets kept up their hot shooting, shooting 13-of-22 from the field. Brooklyn also moved the ball at a highly efficient rate, notching 16 assists on 23 made field goals. Deron Williams led the way for the Nets with 10, while the trio of Harris, Vucevic and Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 10 each.
Out of halftime, the Nets jumped out to a 17-point lead before you could even blink. However, the Magic answered, going on a 10-0 run to cut the lead down to seven. They were able to get out on the break and get some easy buckets thanks to Oladipo and Elfrid Payton. Then, the Nets answered, going on a 29-11 run to end the quarter to hold a big 25-point advantage heading into the fourth. Oladipo led all scorers with 17, with Mason Plumlee leading the way for the Nets with 16.
With the Nets in clear control of the game, all the Magic had to play for was pride heading into the fourth quarter. And that they did. For part of the quarter they struggled to get stops and score consistently, then, behind Ben Gordon, they were able to get things going. Orlando slowly whittled the lead down, thanks to Gordon and Payton getting easy buckets, and the Nets shots coming up short trip after trip. The Magic showed a lot of guts, going on a monster 22-to-2 run to cut the Nets lead down to four with just under a minute and a half to play. The Magic had the lead cut to three with under 30 seconds to play, but were unable to execute, allowing the Nets to have a chance to ice the game with free throws.
Brooklyn finished with four players in double figures, led by Plumlee who finished with a team and game high 18 points. Brook Lopez and Deron Williams had 16 apiece off the Nets bench. Seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson rounded out Nets in double figures, finishing with 14.
The Magic had a very balance effort despite the loss. Seven Magic men finished in double figures, led by Oladipo's 17. Payton finished one rebound shy of a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. Gordon's hot shooting led to 14 off the bench, while both Harris and Evan Fournier finished with 12. Channing Frye scored 11 off the bench, with Vucevic rounding out Magic men in double figures, finishing with 10.