Maybe 2016 will be nicer to the Brooklyn Nets.
They've looked good of late, winning their last game in an encouraging way over the star-studded Miami Heat, 111-105, with a 26-point night from Wayne Ellington. But Wednesday night, they fell to the Orlando Magic in a game where they essentially out-played the Magic through three quarters, but gave up 32 points in the fourth quarter and lost, 100-93.
After losing by 23 to the Magic two weeks back, the Nets were looking for revenge, namely Brook Lopez, whose Jedi bobblehead night was ruined by Orlando with in a blowout loss. Lopez did all he could to get the Nets the victory with 24 points, 15 rebounds, five blocked shots and three steals, but his help was extremely limited... as usual.
It was another tease game like we've heard before.
The Nets transitioned the hot fourth quarter against Miami straight into the first half at Orlando. Lopez led the Nets with 15 points and eight rebounds as they found themselves a seven-point lead by the end of the half. They turned the ball over just twice.
Then they reminded us why they're 9-23 on the season.
They extended the lead to 13 in the third quarter, but committed five turnovers and allowed Orlando to bring it within five entering the fourth quarter.
Thanks to 10-second half turnovers, the Nets allowed Orlando to regain the lead in the fourth. Nikola Vucevic scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and propelled the Magic to victory.
Both teams exchanged buckets down the stretch, but the Nets failed to convert when it mattered most.
The Magic led 94-93 with less than 20 seconds left, Nets ball. They failed to find an open look and Jarrett Jack forced a long mid-ranger with 16 seconds left. It clanked off the rim and the Magic went up three with two free throws. The Nets finished the night 3-for-18 from three, so the chances were slim to begin with, but they didn't even put themselves in a position to tie it up. Brook Lopez committed an offensive foul on the following inbounds play and the Magic sealed the deal at the line.
Another lost game in the final two minutes and final quarter.
Bojan Bogdanovic played one of his best games of the season with 20 points and six rebounds in 38 minutes. He's nailed a three-pointer in 15 straight games. The only other Net in double figures was Thaddeus Young with 16 points, while Jarrett Jack was just 2-of-11 with 10 assists.
Following the loss at Orlando, the Nets dropped to 3-13 on the road. Ironic enough, the three wins have come against the Heat, Bulls and Rockets -- all playoff caliber teams. Sigh...
Next up: Saturday at Boston, 3:00 PM.
For more on the Orlando Magic, check them out at Orlando Pinstriped Post