|Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images|
Disclaimer: this game was not as close as the final score suggests.
Brooklyn had some struggles early on with creating distance between themselves and the 11-31 Magic, particularly in the second quarter – not because Orlando played well, but because the Nets began coasting too early. The Magic upped their tempo and Brooklyn followed suit, but not to their advantage. The Nets shot poorly, forcing a lot of shots and letting the ball go too early in the shot clock.
But things turned around in a big way after halftime; Brooklyn showed no mercy against the lowly Magic. Where third quarters were once one of the great downfalls of this Nets team, the halftime pause has been an absolute boon to them in 2014. So far this year, the Nets have lost just one third quarter – and that was in a victory against the Golden State Warriors. Brooklyn began the quarter on a 7-2 run and simply never looked back.
The game entered the fourth quarter with the Nets up 73-56 after Orlando made only three of its 21 shots in the third. The Nets would only separate themselves further from the Magic as the game went on and eventually went into garbage time. Brooklyn led by as many as 20 points en route to the 101-90 win.
Of note was Brooklyn's superb job of defending Arron Afflalo, of whom you may or may not have previously been jealous. The shooting guard, who is making a real push for an All-Star selection this season, is scoring just under 21 points and 2.1 three pointers per game. He was held to just 11 points on 4-9 shooting and 1-2 from three-point range.
The highlight of this game, of course, was the poster that Andray Blatche made of Kyle O'Quinn (who was actually one of the lone bright spots for Orlando in this game). Rather than using petty words to describe it, I leave you with the following video:
Blatche, on the very next possession, drained a corner three. He finished with 18 points on 6-11 shooting.
In the end, the Nets did exactly what they were supposed to do: they beat a bad, young, inexperienced team at home. They move to 19-22 on the season and 8-1 in January. Things continue to look up for Brooklyn.
Final Score: 101-90, Nets.
Most Disappointing Stat of the Game: Lackadaisical basketball leads to the Nets being outscored in the second quarter.
Promising Stat of the Game: This is the third consecutive game which Brooklyn has won by double digits.
Scariest Moment of the Game: Going into halftime with just a two-point lead.
Best Moment of the Game: "THAT'S A MAN'S JAM!"