Nets finish three game road-trip in disappointing fashion; Lose 115-111 to the Orlando Magic

Sam Greenwood

Following a great win in Miami Tuesday night, the Nets finished off their three game road-trip with a 115-111 loss to the Orlando Magic.

Watch out NBA! The Nets mean business. Tuesday night's thrilling victory over the Miami Heat made a loud statement throughout the entire league. The win marks the first sweep in a four-game season series against Miami since the "big three" formed. Still, the Nets had business to take care of on the second night of a back to back against the rebuilding Orlando Magic.

They had business, but in the first half, looked uninterested. They were down by as much as 16, trailed by 12 heading into the second half. In the second half, they were reluctant to make a strong comeback, but failed to make the most of their opportunities. The final score was 115-111, in favor of the Magic.

Shaun Livingston & Paul Pierce sat out with minor injuries, but it seemed clear to be a reason to give them both an extra day of rest. Also, Andray Blatche was announced out for the second straight game due to an illness. For Orlando, Nikola Vucevic sat out with an achilles injury.

With very little riding on this game, the Nets looked lackadaisical to say the least. Both teams shot poorly in the first quarter, resulting in a 22-20 lead for the Nets. Mirza Teletovic, who started at the power forward position, attempted six three-pointers in his first eight minutes of action; he hit just one of them.

It wasn't exactly a thriller in Orlando. To sum it up nicely, even Ian Eagle stated, "it's the 'dog days' for announcers too."

After trading a few buckets to start the second quarter, the Magic went on a 11-0 run with E'Twaun Moore being the difference maker -- scoring 14 straight points on 5-5 shooting. Orlando was up by as many as 16 in the second quarter, outscoring the Nets 35-21.

The score at the half: Magic 55, Nets 43.

Arron Affalo led all scorers with 15 points, followed by E'Twaun Moore's 14 points. For the Nets, Joe Johnson was the only player in double figures with 12 points. In 15 minutes of action, Deron Williams had zero points and only two assists.

Quick first half stats: The Nets shot just 35.7% from the field, while shooting 25% from three. It was truly a poor shooting half for the guys in black, but thanks to points in the paint, they were reluctant to be down 12.

Finally the Nets woke up a bit. In the first six minutes of the third quarter, they scored 23 points behind nine quick points from Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic finished the quarter 4-5 from beyond the perimeter, 5-11 total. Remember, he started just 1-6. Shooter's continue to shoot, no matter how hot or cold. He was heading into the fourth quarter with 15 points.

Along with Teletovic, Deron Williams picked up his play. Williams scored 10-third quarter points and was suddenly emerging as a legitimate threat for Brooklyn.

The two combined for 22 of the 35 points from the Nets, as they cut the deficit down to five. The score was 83-78 in favor of the Magic.

Mason Plumlee put the Nets on his back through the early stages of the fourth quarter. Pumlee reached deep into his repertoire -- displaying some nice post moves, followed by an exhilarating, one-handed alley-oop off a beautiful feed from Andrei Kirilenko. At the 4:24 mark, Plumlee nabbed his sixth foul, ending his impressive night with 16 points and five rebounds off the bench.

The Nets failed to come up with defensive stops when they needed to do so. Every time they had an opportunity to take the lead, they didn't execute. Still,they found themselves down 108-107 with 31 seconds remaining after Joe Johnson isolated his way to another bucket. It looked like it would be yet another nail-biter for Brooklyn.

The Nets pressed up to play the Magic on the next possession, but with nobody home to protect the paint, the Magic laid it up, 110-107, Magic. Following a Joe Johnson floater and two free-throws from the Magic, the Nets were down 112-109. Any idea who would get the biggest shot of the game?

You were right. Joe Johnson. Except, this time, Johnson was blocked by Kyle O'Quinn. There wasn't much drama left in this one, as the Magic knocked down the necessary free throws to put this game out of reach.

Final score: Magic 115, Nets 111.

Joe Johnson led all scorers with 31 points on 11-19 shooting. Mirza Teletovic scored 17 and grabbed eight rebounds. Despite shooting 3-13, Deron Williams scored 11 points. For Orlando, Arron Affalo scored 25 points, while E'Twaun Moore finished with 17. Five Magic players finished in double digits.

It was certainly a letdown for Brooklyn. As some may say, this was a classic 'trap game'.

Jason Kidd said that other Nets are likely to be rested on Friday when the team returns to Brooklyn to play the Hawks. Kidd said that with the Nets all but locked into the East fifth seed, "some guys will be off Friday for sure."

The Nets will head back home this Friday where they welcome the Atlanta Hawks to Brooklyn.

For more on the Orlando Magic, check them out at Orlando Pinstriped Post.

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