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Nets 109, Magic 102: Undermanned Magic lose in Brooklyn as KD drops 45

Kevin Durant’s 45 points willed the Nets past Orlando Monday night

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic lost their fifth straight game Monday night, 109-102, in a game where Nets’ star Kevin Durant scored a season-high 45 points.

With just nine available players for the Magic, rookie Caleb Houstan got his first career start in Brooklyn, alongside Gary Harris, Franz Wagner, Bol Bol and Paolo Banchero.

But despite their depleted roster, and being on the second night of a back-to-back, Orlando opened the game with a 14-5 lead. But following a Nets’ timeout, Brooklyn responded with an 11-0 run, claiming an 18-16 advantage.

The game of runs continued as Orlando went on a 12-0 run of their own (10 of which came from Bol) and the Magic took a 28-18 lead with 3:14 to play in the first.

That said, the Nets trimmed the Magic lead to five (28-23) by the time the two teams entered the second quarter.

Orlando missed their first 10 shots of the second period, which allowed Brooklyn to regain the lead (29-28) before the Magic took a timeout with 8:24 to go. Yet although the Magic’s first field goal did not come until the 7:04 mark, the pinstripes stayed within striking distance as they trailed by just two (45-43) with 2:19 to play in the first half.

After trailing by five with 33.9 seconds left, a pair of Kevon Harris free throws (first bench points of the game) and a buzzer-beating layup from Banchero brought Orlando back to within one (52-51) as the two teams entered halftime.

Banchero scored a team-high 14 points for the Magic in the first half while Wagner and Bol both scored 12 points for Orlando. Kevin Durant scored a game-high 17 points in the first two quarters.

Wagner committed his fourth personal foul early in their third quarter, but the second-year forward remained in the contest long enough to help tie the game at 60 with 8:28 to go. That said, consecutive threes from Kyrie Irving and Durant gave Brooklyn a six point lead, forcing a Magic timeout.

It felt as though Brooklyn was on the verge of breaking open the game when a Durant jumper gave them a seven-point lead (72-65), but a four-point play from Gary Harris brought Orlando back to within three with 4:51 to go in the period.

Wagner picked up his fifth foul with 1:52 to play in the third, forcing him to sit for the remainder of the quarter, and the Nets closed the period on a 10-0 run, extending their lead to 11 (87-76) entering the fourth.

The two teams traded baskets to start the fourth quarter, but Orlando’s bench unit, capped off by an Admiral Schofield three-pointer, went on a 7-0 run to cut the Nets’ lead to four (91-87).

With the majority of starters back in the game for both squads, Durant scored or assisted on seven of the Nets’ next nine points and Orlando took another timeout with 4:41 to play.

A Bol three-pointer with 1:01 brought the Magic within four points (106-102), but a transition dunk from Nic Claxton with 25.4 seconds remaining was the nail in the coffin for Orlando.

Banchero and Bol led the way for Orlando, as they both totaled 24 points, and Gary Harris scored a season-high 19 points in the loss.

The Magic will now turn their sights to the Atlanta Hawks as the team travels back to Orlando this coming Wednesday for a one-game home stand against their division rival.