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Nets attempt to avoid season sweep against Magic

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets traveled to Miami feeling good about themselves, but Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside were too much for the Nets to handle. Brooklyn fell to the Heat 110-99 ending their two-game winning streak. Wade had 30 points and nine assists while Whiteside had 27 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Sergey Karasev simply couldn't guard Wade. Wade is a future Hall-of-Famer and a difficult cover for anyone, but Karasev's poor defensive effort ultimately put the Nets in a hole that was too deep to climb out of.

The warm Miami weather couldn't heat up the ice-cold Nets who were 3-of-11 from three-point range on the game. Only Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young and Sean Kilpatrick scored in double figures for Brooklyn.

The Nets have one more day in Florida. On Tuesday, they will be in Orlando to face the Magic. Orlando has been without Nikola Vucevic for three weeks with a strained groin muscle and Victor Oladipo for three games with a sore shooting wrist.

Oladipo and Vucevic are two of the most important players to the Magic which explains why they've lost seven of their last 10 games. Both players practiced on Monday and are expected to play against Brooklyn tonight.

Orlando's last game was a victory against the fading Chicago Bulls on Saturday. Both the Nets and Magic are out of the playoffs. So this game will be about watching both team's young players perform and a matchup between two premier centers, Lopez and Vucevic(assuming Vucevic plays.)

Where to follow the game?

YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:00 PM.

Injuries

The Nets are good on injuries besides Jarrett Jack who's out for the year with a torn ACL.

For Orlando, Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo are expected to play after a successful practice on Monday. Ersan Illyasova, who has been a thorn in the Nets side over the years, is unlikely to play tonight with a shoulder injury.

The game

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Orlando

Record

21-52 30-43

Pace

97.0 97.9

Offensive Efficiency

101.4 103.7

Defensive Efficiency

107.4 101.6

Turnover Rate

13.8 13.0

Assist Rate

17.1 17.4

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.6 23.4

Rebound Rate

49.5 49.8

Free Throw Rate

24.5 23.0

Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.6 49.4

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.8 48.6


Previous matchups

On December 14th, Brooklyn lost to Orlando 105-82. On December 30th the Magic won 100-93 in Orlando. On January 8th, Orlando won in a defensive battle 83-77. Orlando leads the season series 3-0 and they're looking to sweep the season series tonight with a victory.

Player to watch: Elfrid Payton

Elfrid Payton, 22 has continued to grow throughout the season. Payton's passing and defense was never an issue, but his ability to score the basketball has always been a concern for the Magic.

Over the past three games, Payton has been on fire. In his last three games, Payton is averaging 16.3 points and 9 assists per game heading into tonight's matchup versus the Nets. Payton has had to pick up the slack with Victor Oladipo's absence and he has done a great job controlling Orlando's backcourt.

In his last 10 games, Payton is averaging 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 29.2 minutes per game. Payton is maturing as a player and constantly improving his game. Payton can fill up the stat sheet, here's highlights from Payton's third career triple double that he recorded this season against the Pistons.

Nets X-factor: Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez needs to have a big game for the Nets tonight. Vucevic is expected to play and if he does, he will be in a heavyweight battle all night with Lopez.

Vucevic has had the Nets and Lopez's number this season. In three games versus Brooklyn, Vucevic is averaging 19.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and he's shooting 48 percent shooting from the field.

Lopez will need to contain Vucevic and get his own on the offensive end. In 3 games versus Orlando this year, Lopez is averaging 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game on 35 percent shooting from the field.

Magic X-factor: Aaron Gordon

Gordon became a household name after his epic dunk contest battle with Zach LaVine. The Magic have high expectations for Gordon, who is extremely athletic, with an improved offensive game.

Gordon, 20 has the potential to have a bright future in this league, on the season he's averaging 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, but since the All-star break, Gordon has shown signs of improvement.

Against the Warriors on Monday March 7th, Gordon had 20 points and 16 rebounds. Versus the Kings on March 11th, he had 20 points and 11 rebounds. However, Gordon's inconsistency has been his biggest problem throughout his young NBA career. Gordon hasn't reached the 20 point plateau since. After recording 15 points and 11 rebounds against the Pistons, Gordon has had a total of 13 points and 11 rebounds in his last two games combined.

Gordon will play an important role in tonight's game. With the attention mostly being on Vucevic, Oladipo and company, that will allow Gordon to fly under the radar. Brooklyn's focus won't be mainly on Gordon, which can allow for him to have a solid game.

From the vault

Let's throw it back to April 11, 2009. This will certainly bring back memories of the old times, All-star point guard Devin Harris was out with a shoulder injury and starting in his place was Keyon Dooling. Dooling had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists, so did Brook Lopez with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but New Jersey's main reason for victory was a typical great game from Vince Carter. Carter dropped 27 points and 9 assists to lead New Jersey to a victory in the Izod Center.

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