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Nets begin April at home vs. Magic

NBA: Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Not there. The Nets had a chance to put a dent in Detroit's playoff chances, but fell short late and lost by one point. This is the first night of their final back-to-back of the season. They host Atlanta tomorrow night.

The opponent this evening will be the Orlando Magic. It’s been a disaster of a season for Frank Vogel’s team and they’re just looking forward to the Draft now. They played the Celtics in Boston last night and lost by one point. They've lost three straight and four out of their last five.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 6 PM.


Joe Harris and Quincy Acy are out.

Jeff Green has been dealing with a balky back and is out.

The game

The Magic won the first game back in December.

The Magic had a peculiar offseason. They acquired Serge Ibaka from Oklahoma City and signed Raptors big man Bismack Biyombo to a large contract. They were expected to help get the Magic back into the playoffs for the first time since 2013. How are they doing on that front? Ibaka got traded to Toronto at the deadline and the Mack continues to come off the bench. Ah well.

It's April Fools' Day, but more importantly, it's Brook Lopez's birthday! The big fella turns 29 and will be looking to bounce back from a poor game on Thursday. He'll be matched up with Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic is allowing opponents to shoot 62 percent on shots inside of six feet, so look for the Nets to get after him early and often. Vucevic is Orlando's top scorer and rebounder, so the Nets can get him outta here early, it'll open things up for them.

It looks as Aaron Gordon will be the full time power forward from here on out. He spent much of the season miscast as a small forward and it adversely affected his game. At the four, his poor three point shooting doesn't matter as much and his ability to finish at the rim becomes more important. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will look to keep Gordon grounded and out of the restricted area.

Player to watch: Elfrid Payton

Payton still can't shoot, but he's been doing a lot of other things well. He's decreased his turnover rate for the second consecutive season and has been helping out more on the boards. He's only 23 years old and as a PG playing for a new coach, he's handled things as well as one can expect.

Jeremy Lin will be leading the attack for Brooklyn. Lin crossed the 30 minutes mark for the first time since December, but with another game tomorrow, his minutes might be on the low side this evening. He should be able to make hay when Payton is on the bench. Orlando is 12 points per 100 posessions worse when Payton is on the bench. Jeremy should have a big game.

From the Vault

We're taking two trips to the Vault today. The University of Connecticut lost at the buzzer against Mississippi State in the Final Four, which snapped their 111 game winning streak. With that in mind, take a trip back to the last time they lost a tourney game.

And with Wrestlemania in Orlando this weekend, take a trip back to the first time Mania was held in the Sunshine State.

More reading: Orlando Pinstriped Post