The Brooklyn Nets had been coming off an “A+” of their greatest take a look at of the season after they rolled into Orlando to face the Magic on Sunday evening. That take a look at they handed with flying colours was a duel with the Miami Heat, a duel that had main, layered implications for Brooklyn. Forget the truth that the winner of would climb above play-in place, if only for a second. The Nets had been using a five-game shedding streak, and had been determined for some morsel of positivity that prolonged past simply the standings.
Well nothing might have been extra optimistic than the best way they manhandled the Heat on Saturday evening, using a dominant second half to comfy victory. Mission achieved.
Sunday’s contest, then, represented a distinct type of look within the mirror for Brooklyn. It’s simple to stand up for a recreation in opposition to a playoff group with such apparent strain coming from the coaches, followers, and media, in entrance of a packed Miami-Dade Arena, no much less. What would they do the morning after, in sleepy Orlando? And make no mistake, it’s not the Magic themselves which might be sleepy; in truth, their 27-23 report over their final 50 video games getting into Sunday is identical because the Nets. As Paolo Banchero tweeted…
Regardless, the Orlando Magic couldn’t be slept on, they usually confirmed the Nets why on Sunday, cruising up and down the courtroom for the sport’s ultimate three quarters, en path to handing the Brooklyn Nets a tough loss that short-circuited the momentum that they had in-built Miami the earlier evening. Final rating: Orlando 119, Brooklyn 106.
The Nets have now misplaced six of their final seven.
The Brooklyn Nets, except for Mikal Bridges’ 44 factors, performed the type of sleepy first half you may count on however hope to keep away from on the second half of an all-road back-to-back. Bridges was unstoppable to begin the sport, particularly within the first quarter, the place he poured in 19 of his 22 first-half factors on his normal array of deep balls and pull-ups:
“I think his approach was very aggressive tonight, from the beginning of the game. We needed that; that kept us in the game early,” stated Jacque Vaughn when requested about his burgeoning star’s scorching begin.
Thankfully for Brooklyn, the Orlando Magic performed simply as sleepily within the first quarter, as in the event that they, too, had been coming off a recreation the earlier evening, moderately than the 2 days of relaxation that they had loved. The rating after the primary 12 minutes was 25-24, Brooklyn, with every group sporting a field-goal share within the low 40s.
Despite holding a lead, Vaughn was lower than thrilled together with his group’s general efficiency: “First quarter, we were able to hang around a little bit. I don’t think our juice was great, but we were okay. We were still feeling ourselves out a little bit in the ring.”
In the second quarter, nonetheless, Brooklyn actually seemed like a group enjoying their second recreation in as many nights, principally as a result of their opponent did not. Vaughn tried inject some life into his group by deviating from his regular rotation – Patty Mills made his first look since March 9, and Cam Thomas made his first look because the earlier Sunday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. Perhaps their minutes had been a response to the standing of Edmond Sumner, who performed nicely in Saturday’s blowout of Miami, however was dominated out previous to this one with a hip harm, or Royce O’Neale, who missed the sport with left knee soreness or Seth Curry, out for private causes.
Regardless, neither guard did a lot to forestall 1 / 4 that wound up in favor of Orlando by a rating of 36-26. Mills and Thomas did mix for 12 factors, however took 13 photographs to get there whereas offering little resistance on the opposite finish. Brooklyn’s issues, nonetheless, prolonged far past them. Spencer Dinwiddie had himself a very tough half, lacking all six of his shot makes an attempt. His fellow ex-Maverick, Dorian Finney-Smith, wasn’t far behind, lacking all 5 of his. All in all, Nets not named Bridges shot simply 12-36 within the first half, together with a putrid 1-12 from three.
Considering all that offensive wreckage, a 60-51 halftime deficit appeared removed from the worst-case situation for the Nets. Unfortunately, it didn’t must be.
Once the Orlando Magic delivered the primary punch of the second half, that was about it. The groups traded mini-runs from there on out, with the Nets sometimes sniffing a single-digit deficit, and different occasions touching a 20-point gap. It was solely ever one step again, one step ahead as soon as the Magic constructed a ample head-start.
On the Brooklyn aspect, the primary half felt very like the second half. Bridges saved scoring, solely getting bolder together with his shot choice as the sport went on:
Bridges would end with a glowing 44 factors on 22 photographs, doubtless probably the most spectacular recreation he’s performed as a Net. Making all 12 of his free throws and 6 of his 9 3-point makes an attempt boosted his effectivity, particularly outstanding on an evening the place none of his teammates had the required juice on their photographs.
He was moderately easy in his evaluation of his scoring explosion: “I was just making shots, just trying to get to my spots.” When requested about nearing his career-high, Bridges acknowledged that he noticed the Jumbotron late within the recreation, however added “I really don’t care. I was just trying to win. I didn’t care at that point.”
Bridges and his fellow twin, Cam Johnson, agreed on one easy cause that Brooklyn couldn’t get the job performed, regardless of Bridges’ outburst: effort.
“They just played harder than us.” – Mikal Bridges
“We were a step behind a little bit, and that’s probably the reason we lost.” – Cam Johnson
Of course, Vaughn wasn’t able to checklist any fatigue-related excuses, regardless of the perceived disparity in effort from his gamers, and the loss approaching a back-to-back that featured an 8:00 p.m. begin adopted by a 6:00 p.m. begin with a airplane journey in between: “I’m not an excuse guy. Guys gave what they had tonight across the board.” Brooklyn’s head coach as an alternative opted to chalk this one up as a “learning experience” vowing that the group might be “more prepared” for his or her subsequent, ultimate back-to-back of the season.
Yes, the 2-of-26 3-point capturing efficiency that non-Bridges Nets put up was definitely ugly. But defensively, Brooklyn didn’t play nicely both, getting outperformed within the areas it’s possible you’ll count on a drained group to undergo in: consideration to element and physicality. Far too many moments of hope had been curb-stomped by a straightforward bucket like this to ever actually take the Nets’ comeback hopes significantly:
Even when Brooklyn was mentally locked in, although, they had been bodily outmatched. Not essentially on the glass, the place they did end with 15 offensive rebounds to Orlando’s 9, persevering with a optimistic pattern for a reasonably undersized group. No, the indicators of fatigue and common poor efficiency confirmed up when merely attempting to protect the ball. Magician after Magician (proper?) strode into the lane for shot makes an attempt; that was in the end an excessive amount of to beat, regardless of Nic Claxton recording 4 spectacular blocks. Cleaning the Glass tracked Orlando as taking a whopping 43% of their whole makes an attempt on the rim, an 89th percentile quantity which doesn’t even embody the various floaters that Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz cashed in.
All in all, it was a significant comedown from the epic excessive of Brooklyn’s victory in Miami on Saturday evening. If there’s a optimistic, in addition to the incendiary efficiency of Bridges, it’s that no starter apart from him touched half-hour, and that group must be nicely rested for his or her subsequent contest on Wednesday.
Vaughn wound up benching these starters with about 4 minutes to go and Brooklyn trailing by 13 factors. On one other evening, it might have appeared a bit untimely to drag the plug there. Crazier issues have occurred. But on Sunday in Orlando, Vaughn’s resolution felt merciful. A full 180 from the earlier evening, Brooklyn’s second half vs. the Magic was spent circling the drain, ready to be flushed as soon as and for all. Some nights, you simply don’t have it, and the Nets definitely didn’t on Sunday.
- Mikal Bridges, in contrast to the Brooklyn Nets as an entire, had a day to recollect. His 12-of-12 efficiency from the road represents career-highs in each makes and makes an attempt. So do his six 3-point makes. He is now averaging 26.8 factors on capturing splits of fifty/41/91 in 20 video games with Brooklyn, after averaging 17.2 factors on splits of 46/39/90 in Phoenix.
- His 44 factors are the second-highest whole of his profession, trailing solely the 45 he scored in his third recreation as a Net. However, his 19-point first quarter did tie a career-best, matched solely by his first quarter in opposition to the Charlotte Hornets on March fifth. Asked if he knew that he was one level off his profession excessive, Bridges intimated he did however stated it didn’t matter; his group misplaced
- Day’Ron Sharpe recorded one other 5 offensive boards, bringing him to 21 over his final 4 video games (his reinsertion into the Nets rotation). No participant within the league has extra offensive boards than Sharpe in that timeframe. Nobody can say his strengths aren’t pronounced.
Brooklyn stays within the six seed, simply outdoors the play-in. The Nets and Heat now have similar information (40-35) with seven video games left. However, after sweeping the Heat, the Nets maintain the tiebreaker. The Nets are actually two video games behind the Knicks for the 5 seed. The Knicks maintain the tiebreaker.
Moses Brown debut
With in the future left on his first 10-day contract, Moses Brown lastly obtained some motion. The 7’2” Brown, a Queens native, performed three minutes, posting a steal and a turnover. Brown has now performed for seven NBA groups.
The Nets can select to signal him to a different 10-day, change him with one other free agent, convert considered one of their two-ways — David Duke Jr. or Dru Smith — to an ordinary deal, or go away a roster spot open. Post-season rosters are finalized on April 10, the day after the common season ends.
Jacque Vaughn stated the Nets will reconvene on their return house to determined what to do.
As Sponge Bob may say…
Brooklyn stays of their spot because the Eastern convention’s six-seed, regardless of having an similar report to the Miami Heat (Brooklyn owns the tiebreaker). All techniques, in the event that they weren’t already, are go. The Nets’ subsequent likelihood to get a win might be again at Barclays Center on Wednesday evening, after they face the Houston Rockets. Tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
For a distinct perspective, head over to Orlando Pinstriped Post, our SB Nation sister web site overlaying the Orlando Magic.