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Nets end 2015 in Orlando

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"WHAT ARE THOOOOOSSSSEEE?!"
"WHAT ARE THOOOOOSSSSEEE?!"
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

A good start to a road trip is always a positive. The Brooklyn Nets overcame a 14 point halftime deficit and came away with an impressive 111-105 over the Heat in Miami. This is the second night of a three game road trip for the Nets and more importantly, their last game of 2015. It's been a difficult year that has had more negative moments than positive ones, and Nets fans/management hope the new year will bring a change in fortunes.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Orlando Magic. It's been a nice year for this bunch and they find themselves in the seventh position in the Conference. They've had a great December as they've gone 9-5, including a 104-89 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night. This is the last game of their four game homestand. They're ringing in the New Year (and beginning a three game road trip) Friday against the Wizards in Washington D.C.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV (unless you have Comcast and will be once again blind to the Nets) with WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off is after 7:00.

Injuries

We got an update on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and the earliest he's expected to return from his ankle surgery is March.

Nothing doing for the Magic.

The game

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Orlando

Record

9-22 18-13

Pace

97.93 97.18

Offensive Efficiency

98.6 102.4

Defensive Efficiency

104.9 100.3

Turnover Rate

15.4 14.7

Assist Rate

16.4 17.3

Offensive Rebounding Rate

25 24

Rebound Rate

50.9 50.2

Free Throw Rate

22.6 21.8

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48 50.1

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.4 49.2

The Magic won the first game earlier this month in Brooklyn.

Three point shooting has been the bane of Brooklyn's existence this season, but they did have a great showing Monday from downtown vs Miami. They made a season high 12 three pointers, but it should be noted that seven of them came from Wayne Ellington. Ellington has crept into the rotation following RHJ's injury over the past two weeks, and if he can consistently make his shots from deep, can keep himself on the court. Ellington is a career 38 percent shooter from deep, so maybe he can give the Nets another respectable option behind the three point line.

The shooting guard matchup should be good. Bojan Bogdanovic has replaced the still struggling Joe Johnson as the team's best perimeter option and ought to get JJ's shots in the offense. As Johnson continues to play poorly, Lionel Hollins should seriously consider cutting his minutes. Johnson provides a lot of veteran experience and that's great, but it's not enough of a substitute for his poor play. The Nets can't afford to give a player 30+ minutes every night when he can't provide any scoring or defense.

On the other side is Evan Fournier. Fournier's shooting has helped make the demotion of Victor Oladipo a success for the Magic. Around five of his 14.5 points a night come from catch and shoot situations, and the Magic are top five in points per game coming off of catch and shoots. The Nets have had their issues with communication, and if they slip up, the Magic will make them pay from downtown. Although they don't take many threes (ninth fewest in the league), they're seventh best in efficiency. Brooklyn on the other hand is top five in threes allowed and worst three point defense.

Player to watch: Nikola Vucevic

Vucevic was the main piece that came to Orlando following the Dwight Howard trade in 2012, and he's done a good job replacing the former All Star. In his four years with the Magic, Vucevic has averaged close to 16 points and 11 rebounds a game while shooting 52 percent from the field. In fact, he's appeared in more regular season games (236) over the past four years than Dwight has (215). As the Magic continue to grow and develop, Vucevic's consistency will help them compete for a high seed in the Eastern Conference.

Brook Lopez had his difficulties the first time he played against Vucevic. Lopez only went 4-15 from the field while Vucevic scored 18 points in only 27 minutes. What makes him tough to handle for Lopez and other centers is that he can draw them out with his jumpers. He has range up to 20 feet and is one of the best jump shooting big men in the league. He averages a point a possession when utilized in pick and roll situations, and that's where Scott Skiles should use him most. Lopez (and the Nets collectively) has had trouble defending P&Rs, and it's what hurt them the first time.

From the Vault

"12 AM we gon' do it again"

More reading: Orlando Pinstriped Post