No two teams are more eager to flip the calendar and forget all about 2017 than the Magic and Nets.
As Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel tweeted, the Magic finished the calendar year with a record of 26-59, which was the fourth worst in franchise history. The Nets were one of the few teams (perhaps the only? Too much math involved for me) to do worse over the calendar year of 2017 with a 25-61 record.
The Nets (13-23), coming off a close loss to the Celtics on New Year's Eve, will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back against Orlando (12-25) as they kick off a five-game homestand. That could somewhat slow the Nets, who normally average 102.7 possessions per game, the fourth fastest pace in the league, and launch 34.3 three-point attempts per game, second most in the league.
The Magic, after blowing an 18-point lead to the Heat for their 10th loss in their last 11th games, are coming off a squandered opportunity to have strung together back-to-back wins for the first time since Nov. 10.
Though the Magic have won seven of their last nine against the Nets, the two teams have split their two match-ups so far this season, during which members of the Magic have enjoyed career nights against the Nets. Brooklyn beat the Magic in their home opener in October despite a career-high 41 points from Nikola Vucevic, who of course will miss Monday's game with a fractured hand. In a rematch a few days later, it was Aaron Gordon who posted a career-high 41 points, including the game-winning three, as the Magic erased a 12-point deficit.
So, based on that trend, don't be surprised if Elfrid Payton drops 40 against the Nets tonight. Kidding of course, EP dropping 40 on anyone would be a shocker.
Tip is set for 7:30 Eastern Time at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Catch the game on Fox Sports Florida.