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Brooklyn Nets looking for fifth straight in Orlando

Kevin C. Cox

So at the end of the day, the Nets will only be without Brook Lopez on Friday night vs. the Magic. Gerald Wallace will be lighter in the wallet by $35,000 (less than 1/10th of one percent of his $40 million deal) . All Kris Humphries has to deal with is scratches on his back and the certain knowledge that his boss thinks he needs a spelling test ("tetanus", not "tetnis").

With Lopez on the bench with a mild sprain of his foot, Andray Blatche will likely get the start. Blatche who had 17 points and 13 rebounds against Kevin Garnett Wednesday, will be facing lesser competition in Orlando. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando's 22-year-old center, averaged 12 points and nine boards in the two Nets wins earlier this month.

Expected to see some action is the Nets' own European big man, Mirza Teletovic. Inactive for the past three games, the 6'9" power forward will dress in Florida. Tornike Shengelia, who hurt his thumb while working out in the weight room, is not expected to play.

The Magic have lost two straight to the Spurs and Celtics and are 5-9. The loss to the Spurs was so bad that it spurred a team meeting where veteran players expressed dissatisfaction with younger players. Always good for team morale these meetings.

Their biggest problems are rebounding where they rank 28th and inexperience among both players and coaches. Their head coach, former Net Jacque Vaughn, and four of their players are rookies. Half the roster is 25 or younger.

The Nets beat them in Orlando by 39 and at home by eight in their fourth and fifth games. It was the start of their roll after their devastating loss to the Timberwolves and the start of their march to meeting Avery Johnson's goal of becoming a top 10 defense. They already rank first in polnts allowed and a good showing against Orlando would put them into 10th place in defensive efficiency.