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Brook Lopez leads Nets to 121-111 victory on his birthday

NBA: Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Comic books weren’t the only thing that Brook Lopez got for his birthday. He got himself a victory as well.

Lopez had himself a big night with 30 points and seven rebounds as he led the Nets (17-59) to a 121-111 victory over the Orlando Magic (27-50), Saturday night in Brooklyn. Lopez was the only starter in double figures, but the bench provided a 72-point boost to help notch the victory.

It’s April, which means it’s the final stretch of the Nets’ season where player evaluations are in full swing and the off-season is right around the corner. The Nets continue to play tough despite the current circumstances.

With that being said, the guys on the second unit are looking to prove something, which they’ve done pretty consistently this season. The Nets were stuck in a tight game, but the bench led the Nets on a big run to start the fourth quarter.

Orlando started the game on a 15-5 run and it looked like it would be another slow start for the Nets. Instead, they flipped the switch and outscored Orlando 55-38 from that point to the end of the half, behind 18 points from Brook Lopez.

They led 60-53 at half, but a 36-point quarter for Orlando wiped out the lead. It was 89 all entering the fourth quarter.

The Nets got their biggest boost from their bench in the fourth, led by the likes of Trevor Booker, Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Hamilton. The Nets needed it. Lopez was the only starter in double figures with 30 points, while Jeremy Lin struggled all night, finishing with eight points and eight assists.

Behind the second unit, the Nets started the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run -- 24-7 extended -- and led by 11 less than three minutes into the quarter. Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie anchored the run, as the 30-year-old finished with a season-high 23 points to go along with eight rebounds. He scored eight in the fourth.

By time Lopez and Lin checked in, the Nets led by 10 with 6:27 remaining. They stayed the course the rest of the fourth and closed it out with ease.

Kilpatrick chipped in 15 off the bench and Hamilton, celebrating his 27th birthday, added 13 of his own. Lin had a tough night with 3-of-14 shooting. His eight assists was tops on the Nets.

Brooklyn shot 53 percent and scored 72 points in the paint to make up for their abysmal 8-of-31 shooting from deep.

The Magic were led by Nikola Vucevic (27 points) and Aaron Gordon (22 points and 15 rebounds). They shot 49.5 percent from the field.


Asked Saturday night about resting players, like they did last season, Kenny Atkinson said, “We’re not going to rest. I’ve been saying how important it is for us to finish the season strong, and I do think seeing more of Jeremy together with the group is helpful also. We’d love to have positive momentum going into this important offseason.”

That means Lopez will get a chance to break the career scoring record held by Buck Williams. With six games remaining, Lopez is 90 points short of Williams record.


Archie Goodwin has one more game to prove himself, but his chances are looking good. With two days left on his second 10-day deal, Goodwin played 15 minutes, scored eight points on 2-of-4 shooting and a perfect night at the line, 4-of-4. He also handed out two assists and stole the ball. The Nets can sign the 22-year-old for the rest of the season ... or a multiple-year deal at any point going forward. They don’t have to wait till Monday.

K.J. McDaniels and Andrew Nicholson had DNP’s while Quincy Acy and Joe Harris were inactive. Harris has now missed 17 straight games with a concussion and a shoulder sprain.


The Nets are now 7-10 with a starting lineup of Lopez, Lin, Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert and Randy Foye, easily their best unit.


With the Bulls come-from-behind win over the Hawks, they moved ahead of the Pacers in the race for the eighth and last playoff spot. If the Pacers don’t make the playoffs, their second rounder goes to the Nets as part of the Thaddeus Young trade. If the regular season ended Saturday, Brooklyn would have four picks: the Nos. 23 (Wizards); 27 (Boston); 46 (Indiana); and 57 (Boston) picks.


Next up: Tomorrow vs. the Atlanta Hawks