New year, new Markelle Fultz?
“Just being aggressive, I think that’s my new motto, my 2020 resolution” Fultz told Fox Sports Orlando after the game.
It will be a very happy new year in Orlando if Fultz continues to be as aggressive, efficient and productive as he was on Monday. Fultz took more shots, made more shots, and scored more points than he ever has in an NBA game, leading the Magic to a 101-89 win over the Nets. Fultz finished with 25 points, 12 of which came in the fourth when the Magic were in dire need of an offensive spark, and shot 11-for-20 from the field.
Fultz started the game strong and finished stronger. He was in attack mode early on, scoring nine straight points within the first 3:38 of the game.
The Nets were aggressive early with their double teams on Nikola Vucevic, forcing him to give up the ball and make the Magic find another way to beat them. Vooch attempted just one shot in eight scoreless minutes in the first but did grab eight rebounds. The Magic outshot the Nets (44 percent to 30 percent), but trailed 22-20 after the first thanks in part to six turnovers in the quarter.
D.J. Augustin scored the first eight points of the second quarter, including a pair of threes, giving the Magic a 28-22 lead. Augustin would go on to score 12 in the quarter as the Magic shot 52 percent overall in the second. Aaron Gordon scored six straight points to cap a 14-3 Magic run that increased the lead to 52-36. Despite Vucevic being held scoreless in the first half, Orlando led 52-39 at the break as the Magic limited the Nets to 29.8 percent shooting, including 6 of 25 from three (24 percent). Outside of Joe Harris, who had 12 first half points on 5-for-6 shooting, the remainder of the Nets’ starting lineup was held to a combined 10 points on 3 of 26 shooting. Vucevic grabbed 11 first-half boards as the Magic outrebounded the Nets, 33-21.
The Nets opened the third on a 7-1 run, led by Dinwiddie, who after a quiet first half would score 12 in the quarter. While the Nets’ leading scorer woke up in the third, Vucevic remained contained offensively. His first points finally came with 6:22 remaining in the third to put the Magic up 64-52. The Magic were then held without a field goal over the final 4:17 of the third, and would shoot just 35 percent in the quarter, as the Nets cut what had been a 16-point lead to two. Brooklyn closed the third on a 14-6 run and trailed 75-71 going into the fourth.
The Magic’s field goal drought extended in the fourth. The Nets again opened the quarter on a 7-1 run, taking the lead on a floater by Wilson Chandler that made it 78-76 with just under nine minutes to go. The Magic went 9:20 of gametime without a field goal until Fultz ended that cold streak with an offensive flurry similar to the one he had to open the game.
Fultz scored seven straight points - a drive that put the Magic back in front, a layup in transition, and a three - to open an 85-78 Orlando lead. It was the start of an 11-0 Magic run that sealed the win as the Nets went without a field goal for six minutes.
Fultz’s 25 points eclipsed his previous career-high of 20 points, his 11 field goals made eclipsed his previous high of 9, and his 20 field goal attempts eclipsed his previous high of 17. Fultz, who hit 2 of 5 threes, also added five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Vucevic grabbed 24 rebounds and, after a scoreless first half, 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Gordon added 11 points and also had another strong game on the glass with 14 rebounds. Wes Iwundu had a season-high 12 points. Augustin finished with 16 points and six assists and Terrence Ross added 10 as the Magic, who shot 43.2 percent, had seven players finish in double figures.
The only two players reached double figures for the Nets, with Dinwiddie and Harris each scoring 16. The Nets shot 33.3 percent and made just 10 of 47 three-point attempts (21.3%), which Josh Robbins of The Athletic reported is the record for the most three-point misses in a game by a Magic opponent.
The Magic handed the Nets their sixth straight loss and jumped over them in the standings to take over the seventh spot. Orlando concludes it’s four-game homestand on Wednesday against the Wizards.