Nets look to avoid a letdown in Orlando

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. With the game on the line, Mason Plumlee blocked LeBron James at the rim and the Nets came away with an 88-87 victory, completing the season sweep. They're probably not gonna have home court advantage in the first round, but who cares about that right now.

Waiting for the Nets Wednesday night will be the Orlando Magic. The Magic are in rebuilding mode and are patiently waiting for the off-season to begin.

These teams have split the season so far. The Magic won back in November while Brooklyn won the matchup back in January. They'll meet for the final time this season on Sunday.

The season so far

Here's what these teams have done this season:

2013-2014

Brooklyn

Orlando

Record

43-34 22-55

Pace

93.74 96.03

Offensive Efficiency

104.7 99.3

Defensive Efficiency

104.5 104.5

Offensive Rebounding percentage

21.6 22.5

Turnover rate

15.1 15.2

Assist rate

16.8 16.4

Rebound rate

46.9 49

Free throw rate

31.1 25

Effective Field Goal percentage

51.5 48.5

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

51.1 50.3

Kevin Garnett will be available for this game. He returned on Saturday in Philadelphia but had yesterday off against Miami. Andray Blatche was a late scratch due to the flu and there hasn't been an update on his status.

The block is the big takeaway, but Plumlee has been having an excellent second half of the season. He dosn't play that many minutes (by design and sometimes due to foul trouble), but he makes the most of his playing time. He's still limited on offense, but he's already great finishing at the basket. Maybe the thought of Plumlee being in the running for rookie of the year wasn't such a bonkers thought after all.

Marcus Thornton deserves some praise as well. With Paul Pierce saddled with foul trouble, Thornton came off the bench and hit four three pointers and picked up three steals as well. When he first came to the team, we were told that he wasn't the most efficient shooter and could sometimes shoot you out of ballgames. However, that really hasn't been the case as he's shot 40 percent from three point range since joining Brooklyn. He figures to be a key contributor coming off the bench for the Nets once the playoffs begin next weekend.

Nikola Vucevic has missed the last two games due to a sore Achilles. No word on his status for this game.

It's been a decent rookie season for Victor Oladipo. The young fella is averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists a game in 31 minutes of action a night. He's best fit as a shooting guard, but he's played at the point this year. He hasn't been able to successfully finish at the rim and he's struggled shooting from the perimeter, but he stands to make improvements over the summer and be prepared to have a better campaign next season.

Player to watch: Arron Afflalo

Afflalo has been having a decent sophomore season with the Magic. He's averaging 18.5 points on a true shooting percentage of 57.1 in 36 minutes a night. His stay with the Magic has been the first time in his career where he's been expected to shoulder the load for an offense, and from the outside looking in, it appears that he's been doing a decent job of it. He's earned a reputation for being one of the league's best perimeter defenders, but the Magic have been disastrous with him on the floor. They're allowing 107.2 points per 100 possessions defensively with him on the floor versus 99.5 when he's not playing.

Afflalo will be defending Pierce and Joe Johnson. Both players are coming off of good shooting performances against the Heat in their 30+ minutes of game time. Afflalo will look to use his size to counteract the weight advantage Pierce and Johnson have over him once they venture into the post. He won't have to worry about them too much from the post as the duo has been living (and living well) from behind the three point line over the past month and change. AAA will have to stay close to them because they will go wild from deep if left open.

From the Vault

On Wednesday, the Magic will be announcing two members of their brand new Hall of Fame. Here's a guy who has a good chance of being enshrined into the Hall.


More reading: Orlando Pinstriped Post

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