The Nets welcome the Magic to Brooklyn

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Three more to go. With the Nets locked into the five seed, the objective now is to make it to next weekend at full strength. As such, they weren't feeling too broken up about their loss to the eighth seeded Atlanta Hawks at home on Friday night.

Coming into Brooklyn this Sunday evening will be the 23-56 Orlando Magic.

This is the final meeting between these teams. The Magic lead the season series 2-1, including the game from last Wednesday.

There are two games worth keeping an eye on for Brooklyn. The fourth -seeded Raptors play host to the Detroit Pistons and the third-seeded Chicago Bulls visit MSG to play the Knicks, who were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday night when the Atlanta Hawks beat the Miami Heat.

The season so far

What's up? Let's check:

Metric

Brooklyn

Orlando

Record

43-36 23-56

Pace

93.65 96

Offensive Efficiency

104.6 99.5

Defensive Efficiency

104.7 104.6

Offensive Rebounding percentage

21.6 22.6

Turnover rate

15.2 15.2

Assist rate

16.8 16.4

Rebound rate

47 49.1

Free throw rate

31.2 25.3

Effective Field Goal percentage

51.5 48.6

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.7 50.2

With essentially nothing to play for, the Nets have begun resting players that have minor injuries. Paul Pierce missed the Magic game due to a hip pointer. Deron Williams was out against the Hawks due to tendinitis, and Shaun Livingston has missed the last two due to a sprained right toe. Joe Johnson could probably use a game off.

With key players sitting out, that means we'll be seeing more of the bench. That means we'll be seeing a lot of Jorge Gutierrez and Marcus Thornton. Gutierrez has played well as a Net and looks to be someone that can play quality minutes in case of an emergency once the playoffs start. Thornton is coming off one of hid worst games as a Net, but has been better than advertised.

Nikola Vuvecic missed his fourth straight game on Friday due to an Achilles injury and figures to miss this one as well. There's really no reason to play him considering where the Magic are in the standings.

Ten years in and Jameer Nelson is still playing at a decent level. He still provides the Magic with 12 points and seven assists in 32 minutes a game. As Orlando climbs back into relevance, Nelson would be great to have around. He's been with the team his entire career, is popular among the fan base, and most importantly, is useful when he gets on the court.

Player to watch: Victor Oladipo

Between playing two positions and just being a rookie in the NBA, Oladipo has been having a decent rookie season. He's averaging 14 points, four rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes a night. He has a bit of a turnover problem, averaging three a night and ranking on the top ten in overall turnovers. He leads the team in usage rate, but hasn't shot well considering where he takes the majority of his shots. He's attempted 389 field goals inside of the restricted area, but has only made 53.9 percent of those shots. As such, his 51.4 true shooting percentage isn't where it needs to be for a player who uses that many possessions. He's drawn a few comparisons to Dwyane Wade, and if he cab approach anything close to that level, then the Magic will have gotten their money's worth.

He figures to play an active part in this contest. He's a decent jump shooter, and like everyone not named Ricky Rubio, he's more successful close to the basket as compared to the perimeter. There isn't much clue as to who'll be defending him for Brooklyn, but the strategy is essentially the same. The Nets will look to keep him on the perimeter and force him into difficult jumpers. His turnover bug could also come into play as the Nets are one of the league's best at forcing turnovers.

From the Vault

Nick Anderson will be entering the Magic Hall of Fame next season. Head on back to 1995 and see Anderson make the biggest play of his career against the returning Michael Jordan.


More reading: Orlando Pinstriped Post

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