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Orlando Magic game a matter of pride for Brook Lopez?

With the end of the Dwightmare, this game had to loom large for Brook Lopez, who the Magic made clear they didn't want in return for Dwight Howard. Is a matter of personal pride?


Brook Lopez hasn't played well the last two games, vs. the Timberwolves and Heat. After a dominating performance and the Raptors on Saturday night, he hasn't approached that level since. Friday night, he gets a chance to redeem himself and show some of his biggest detractors what he can do.

Magic executives, writers and fans trashed Lopez last season, then again in the off-season when the Nets proposed sending their seven-footer (along with MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries and four first rounders) to Orlando for Dwight Howard. Not that interested, the Magic passed and made a deal for Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Christian Eyenga and Moe Harkless plus three protected first rounders and two second rounders, one protected.

The Magic are 2-2 and a surprise. They don't have much in the post to defend Lopez with Nikola Vucevic and Gustavo Ayon their best bigs. Their strength lies in perimeter scoring with Afflalo, J.J. Redick and Glen Davis all averaging above 17. Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu are out and Jameer Nelson is questionable.

For the Nets, Gerald Wallace is out and decision time for Josh Childress is likely to be Friday's shootaround. The game is the first of a home-and-home, with the Magic visiting Barclays Center Sunday.