The Orlando Magic were poised to end their disappointing 2014/15 season on a high note Wednesday by ending the Brooklyn Nets playoff hopes, but the Nets dominated the fourth quarter to earn a 101-88 victory. The Magic were already assured of the NBA's fifth-worst record, and were thus simply playing for pride. The season closes with Orlando at 25-57, a scant two-win improvement over the previous season.
Nik Vučević bounced back from a poor showing Monday to stuff the stat sheet against Brook Lopez and the rest of the Nets' bigs to the tune of 26 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Victor Oladipo chipped in 19 points of his own, albeit on 20 shooting possessions with four turnovers.
Once again, Nets reserve swingman Bojan Bogdanović tormented Orlando: he led all players with 28 points, including four three-pointers. Lopez, Joe Johnson, and Thaddeus Young--the Nets' starting frontcourt--scored 46, and without the injured Tobias Harris and Evan Fournier, the Magic simply couldn't match the Nets' firepower.
The Magic held a three-point lead at the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, but a Mason Plumlee slam sparked a 21-6 Brooklyn run which sealed the game. To salt the wound, Bogdanović drilled his fourth trey of the night to provide the final margin with less than two minutes to play.
The game ended a lost season on a sour note, but kudos are due to Andrew Nicholson, who battled his way to an efficient 18 points with nine rebounds in just 28 minutes. A forgotten man for much of his third campaign, Nicholson has come on strong in the final weeks of the season. If nothing else, watching him return to the solid form he showed as a rookie must hearten the Magic.