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Magic at Nets, Final score: Brooklyn escapes with a 104-96 victory over Orlando behind Bogdanovic's 22

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Alex Goodlett

BROOKLYN -- Deron Williams is feeling good; Brook Lopez is feeling good; But most importantly, the Brooklyn Nets are feeling good. It was Friday night against the New York Knicks where the Nets put on a show for the Brooklyn crowd and routed the team from Manhattan, 110-99, with Deron Williams going off for 29 points and six assists. Sunday afternoon the Nets were up against the lowly Orlando Magic -- a matinee affair that would end the Nets four game home stand.

The Magic would compete with Brooklyn until the very end, but it was the Nets and their defensive presence in the fourth quarter that notched them the victory, 104-96. The Magic shot a stellar 53% from three, but the Nets held them to just 19 points in the fourth quarter., including a six-minute stretch without a field goal just before the end of the game. The Nets finish their four-game home stand having gone 3-1 and now have an overall record of 4-2.

Bojan Bogdanovic proved he was worth waiting for, having his break-out game in the NBA. He scored 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. , grabbed six rebounds and had two steals  It was Bogdanovic's nine points in the second quarter that turned this game around for the Nets.

Deron Williams came out strong in this game, facilitating the offense and scoring 18 points while dishing out seven assists. He shot 7-of-11. Mason Plumlee held down the fort for the Nets' big men. He finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season, at 16 minutes the fastest double-double for a Nets player in at least 30 years.  Brook Lopez, who once again struggled, finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting but only five boards. He did not play in the fourth quarter. Kevin Garnett also finished with a hefty stat-line of eight points, eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal.

For Orlando, Nikola Vucevic was held scoreless in the fourth, mainly due to a strong defensive effort by KG, but still led the team with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Evan Fournier was the next man in line, finishing with 19 points and five rebounds.

After the game, Williams commented on Bogdanovic's big night by saying:

"I think teams are keying on myself and Joe (Johnson) and Brook (Lopez) and he's going to benefit from that. He finds himself getting wide open shots, but he's also doing a great job of attacking the defense." Williams continued, "He's a rookie, but he's not because he's played at a high level for so long. He's 25 years old, and he knows how to play the game. He doesn't have much of a weakness. He can pass, he can shoot, he can dribble and he can post up. He's very versatile. He's meant a lot to this team."

Also, Coach Lionel Hollins didn't bite his tongue when it came to Lopez's performance against Vucevic, the second time in a week that's been embarrassed by a Montenegro big man named Nikola, Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic having pushed him around on Wednesday.

"Yeah, he wasn't guarding. I want him to guard. Simple as that. Get on him. You know he's shooting the ball, making shots; you've got to guard him. Couple of times he made him put it on the floor, but he didn't do it enough and you know, the game was tic and tac and I just tried to take that away from him, which we did with KG by putting him in the game..."

Nor did Joe Johnson bite his, first in the locker room, then in a tweet. He was pissed how close the game was and that he didn't play a role until late.

"We make it hard on ourselves. We get to a point to where we get a bit complacent, the ball stops moving, guys get a little selfish and it makes it hard because now it hurt us defensively. Shouldn't even come down to the last three, four minutes of a game to where it's a tight game, Coach has to make a decision to put me at the 'four.' It should've never got to that."

Later he tweeted...

Quarter by quarter summary:

Don't let the young and rebuilding Orlando Magic fool you. They may be heading in different direction than the Nets this season, but these athletic-type teams give the Nets trouble. It was evident throughout the quarter as the Nets trailed most of the way, but a late-quarter outburst from Joe Johnson had the Nets up, 24-23, after one. Johnson finished with 10 points on 4-7 shooting, while the Nets as a team finished the quarter shooting 41% from the field. Through the first six games of the season, Johnson is averaging 7.5 points per first quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Deron Williams lobbed a beautiful alley-oop pass to the high-flying Mason Plumlee. It looked like that could the start of a much needed jolt that Brooklyn was looking for, but instead they were letting the Magic handle them due to lack of energy and poor perimeter defense.

That seemed to be the theme of the first half for Brooklyn: Their inability to cover the Magic behind the three point line. They let the Magic shoot 60% beyond the arc compared to the Nets' 17%. The Magic scored 29 points in the second quarter alone and were led by Nikola Vucevic, who finished the half just short of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. For Brooklyn, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson finished with 10 points apiece, while Mason Plumlee scored eight-second quarter points.

It seemed a lot worse than the score showed, but the Nets needed to find some sort of spark plug if they wanted any chances of taking this game.

Score at the half: Magic 52, Nets 50.

Early in the third quarter, Bojan Bogdanovic scored nine points within the first five minutes of the quarter, notching his NBA-high of 15 points. It looked like Bogdanovic's outburst was the spark plug Brooklyn was looking for as they were in the midst of a 16-6 run to turn the game around. He was heading into the fourth quarter with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. The Nets' primary advantage was second-chance points. They had a 16-4 advantage within that category, while outrebounding Orlando 34-24 through three quarters.

Brooklyn finished the third quarter having outscored Orlando 31-25, but a huge third quarter effort from Nikola Vucevic kept the Magic in the game. It's been a struggle for Lopez to keep up with Nikola's this week. First, it was Nikola Pekovic who went off for 16 and 11 Monday night, and Sunday afternoon, it was Vucevic who was absolute force, scoring 27 points and 11 rebounds with the entire fourth quarter to play.

The Nets led the Magic, 81-77, heading into the fourth quarter.

Lionel Hollins depended on his bench during the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, but the backup unit didn't get it done. The Magic regained the lead and outscored Brooklyn 12-5 during that span, which led to the injection of the starting unit. And with that, back came Brooklyn charging behind a quick 8-0 run and seven point lead, 96-89 with three minutes remaining.

The Nets escaped with it from that point on. They held the Orlando Magic without a field goal for six straight minutes, while they ran away with a 15-7 scoring run to finish the game. Overall, they outscored the Magic 23-19 and shot 48% from the field, compared to the Magic's 52% from the field and 53% from three. Based off those numbers, the Nets were reluctant to escape with a victory.

Final score: Nets 104, Magic 96.

The Nets will begin their three game road trip this Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns.

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