PHOTO CREDIT: (CBS NEW YORK/AP)
With fans back for the second time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brooklyn Nets once again did not disappoint. Riding a seven-game win streak, Brooklyn fans may have cringed at the fact that they were looking for their eighth straight against a basement-dwelling team in the Orlando Magic. Why is this? Because all season long, the Nets have struggled to get up for games against teams of lesser talent and wins. But to continue the streak and end the widely known narrative and trend that the Nets can’t play against teams in the basement, they needed a dominant effort and decisive victory. For the sixth straight game, the Nets were without star small forward and NBA All-Star team captain Kevin Durant.
The Nets stumbled a bit in the first quarter, which was a bit foreboding for the Brooklyn faithful. They were outscored by Orlando 28-24. Would this be the same old story? Is the streak coming to an end on home court?
In the next twelve-minutes of play, Brooklyn was nothing short of spectacular. Scoring 41-points compared to Orlando’s 19. Going into halftime, the Nets led 65-47. Brooklyn completely outplayed the Magic in the first half, and the score suggested that. Brooklyn led in rebounds (25-18), assists (14-12), steals (8-3), and blocks (1-0). James Harden had 17 first-half points and 6 rebounds. With all hands on deck, the Nets once again outscored their opponent in the third quarter. They tallied 27-points compared to the Magic’s 25. Leading 90-72 heading into the fourth quarter, Brooklyn kept the pedal to the metal, outscoring Orlando 37-20 and comfortably winning the basketball game 129-92.
Eight straight wins. The Nets are cooking, and they have all their passengers on the speeding wagon. Clicking like never before, Brooklyn seems to have multiple players beyond their “Big 3” contributing night after night. Bruce Brown has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the season. Bringing a two-way game every night, Brown has earned himself the starting center position almost every game, thanks to his rebounding and defensive ability.
Tonight, Brown had 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Joe Harris had 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. DeAndre Jordan had 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists. James Harden came close to yet another triple-double. “Beard” had 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Kyrie Irving recorded 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 9 assists. Landry Shamet drilled five three-pointers and had a total of 19 points and 9 rebounds. Long awaiting his return which happened on Tuesday, Nicolas Claxton shook off the rust and tallied 10 points, 3 rebounds, and an assist. Tyler Johnson, Chris Chiozza, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot all combined for 17-points.
Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni have sent a message loud and clear to their group. They have their squad playing some of their best basketball and are pushing more and more out of them each and every game. It is unknown what Sean Marks will do (if anything) to improve this team at the buyout window or trade deadline, but the next few months will be potentially special if the Nets continue to stay motivated and grind.
Brooklyn looks to extend its streak to nine games against the .500 Dallas Mavericks at the Barclays Center on Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 8:30 PM Eastern Time.