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Orlando Magic starts off an "interesting" week for Brooklyn Nets


The Nets have beaten the Magic three straight, including a 39-point shellacking in Orlando back in November, which set a franchise record for road margin of victory. The Magic, whose goal seems to be getting the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, seem to be doing the worst they can to meet it. They have the third worst record in the NBA and have won only two of their last 16, including a two-point loss Sunday to the Pistons. In other words, the Nets should have an easy time of it.

Good thing, because the next three opponents on their four-game homestand are, in order, the Heat, Bulls and Lakers, who beat the Thunder Sunday.

The Magic do boast a good coach in former Net Jacque Vaughan and a solid center in Nikola Vucevic, acquired in the Dwight Howard deal. They also have some interesting pieces in Glen Davis and J.J. Redick, both of whom are reportedly available in a trade; Jameer Nelson, the former All-Star; Arron Afflalo, the defensive specialist asked to provide offense and a host of younger players like Andrew Nicholson, Gustavo Ayon and Maurice Harkless who may or may not work out, but this year are hit-or-miss.

Overall, they are dreadful in some key areas of Nets strength: they are in the bottom five in fast break points, going to the foul line, opponent field goals per game, free throws attempted and made (dead last), etc., etc. They can break out from deep, as Redick did Sunday with 31 points, including eight three-pointers.

For the Nets, it's an attempt not just to end a two-game losing streak, the first under P. J. Carlesimo, but end a stretch of bad basketball that stretches back to the Timberwolves game. The Nets are relatively healthy, with only Toko Shengelia (concussion symptoms) questionable. Shengelia and Tyshawn Taylor returned from Springfield after a successful run.