The magic didn’t end in Houston, it carried over into Orlando. And I’m not talking about the team the Nets faced.
The Nets trailed by as many as 21 after an extremely disappointing first half. It looked like it might be a letdown game after a stunning victory in Houston, but the Nets do not give up. Instead, they made their biggest comeback since 2011 and it came on the back of D’Angelo Russell.
DLo finished with a career high-tying 40 points on 16-of-25 shooting, including 8-of-12 from downtown. He did not attempt a free throw.
It started with a 7-0 run early in the fourth that brought Brooklyn within four. The teams went back and forth until Russell nailed a mid-ranger to bring the Nets within two with under two minutes remaining.
The Nets came up with a stop on the defensive end and suddenly it was showtime for the two-headed snake. Joe Harris inbounded a pass from under the basket, hit Spencer Dinwiddie in the corner who nailed the three and the foul, putting the Nets up by two.
... Peep the bench.
Dinwiddie with the and-one from deep, Nets bench mobs him pic.twitter.com/YaXgWnYkej— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 19, 2019
The Magic answered with a bucket of their own and it was all tied up at 113 apiece, Nets ball with a two-for-one opportunity. The ball in Russell’s hands.
Russell baited the defender with a jab, stepped back and nailed his eighth three-pointer to give the Nets a three-point lead, ice-in-his-veins gesture and all.
“Ice. That’s all I see,” Russell told Michael Grady in the post-game.
Of course, the Magic had their opportunities. Treveon Graham fouled Terrence Ross from three, but Ross missed the second free throw which kept the Nets up by one point. The Nets killed clock and Dinwiddie stepped to the line with nine seconds left. He missed one-of-two and Orlando had its chance.
With Joe Harris covering him, Evan Fournier called for a high pick-and-roll from Nikola Vucevic. Fournier stormed to the rim and got a clean look but missed just short.
..... NETS WIN!
It’s their third straight victory. Final score of 117-115. The Nets moved above .500 at 24-23. It’s the first time the Nets have been above .500 in January since 2012-2013, their first year in Brooklyn.
They entered Friday with a three-game lead over Orlando (19-26) and exited with a four-game lead, standing as sole owners of the sixth seed, four games behind the fifth seed, the Boston Celtics
Russell has now scored 20 or more points in eight of the last 10 games and it was also his third game in the last seven games with seven or more three-pointers (8-of-12). He kept the Nets in the game early, scoring 19 straight points in the second quarter — the most of any NBA player this season — ending the first half with 24 points.
“This past month, he’s been playing out of his mind,” Kenny Atkinson replied when asked if Russell is an All-Star.
Meanwhile, Dinwiddie finished with 20 points in 27 minutes on 6-of-11 shooting. Shabazz Napier came up big off the bench with four three-pointers, while Joe Harris (11 points) and DeMarre Carroll (10 points) were the other Nets’ players in double figures. Jarrett Allen finished with 10 rebounds and six points.
Aaron Gordon led the Magic with 23 points, while Nikola Vucevic — a known Nets’ killer — finished with 16 points and 17 rebounds.
The Nets didn’t play their best game, by any means. They clawed, they scrapped and they came away with the win all thanks to a 31-20 advantage in the fourth quarter. Russell kept them alive and the others stepped up when they needed to.
It almost doesn’t feel real.
The Nets entered Friday night’s game tied with Miami for the six seed in the East. The winning has given them a little more breathing room. After the Pistons beat the Heat, the Nets are now two and a half games ahead of the ninth seed.
As we’ve learned, the Brooklyn Nets rarely provide injury timetables under Sean Marks. That doesn’t mean we aren’t tracking things. LeVert was injured 9 1⁄2 weeks ago which begs the question — Is a return looming?
He was seen shooting with the team in Houston...
Then this from Brian Lewis...
LeVert shot around before Wednesday’s win in Houston & again tonight. He’s essentially done individual work with assistant coaches and every basketball activity except have live 5-on-5 action. #Nets— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) January 19, 2019
Caris LeVert had another encouraging workout before tonight’s game in Orlando. But with the #NBA All-Star break a month away, Kenny Atkinson was noncommittal on whether LeVert might return before then. #Nets— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) January 19, 2019
JARRETT ALLEN’S LIST
Jarrett Allen had three blocks, giving him 11 in three games. No Magic player suffered under his wing Friday, but that’s okay.
Here’s a friendly reminder...
Jarrett Allen block list:— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 17, 2019
LeBron James ✔️
Blake Griffin (2x) ✔️
Giannis Antetokounmpo ✔️
Anthony Davis ✔️
James Harden ✔️ pic.twitter.com/XMWNNMV9vO
DINWIDDIE THREE’S FOR KIDS TO SEE + DISNEY KICKS
View this post on Instagram
Excited to announce my foundation and I have partnered with @SightMD to lead the charge in childhood eye and ocular disease prevention. For every 3 PT Shot made this season, we will provide a free eye exam to a child in need! @dinwiddiefamilyfoundation #3sForBetterVision #Dinwiddiefamilyfoundation #AudienceOfOne
And his kicks...
For another perspective and a What-the-hell-just-happened? review, head on over to Orlando Pinstriped Post, our Magic sister site on SB Nation.
Next up: The Sacramento Kings on Monday — the start of a three-game home stand! The other games are against the Magic on Wednesday and the Knicks on Friday.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 117, Orlando Magic 115 - NBA.com
- Video: Brooklyn Nets 117, Orlando Magic 115 - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: BKN@ORL (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Nets down Magic, 117-115 (Video) - Chris Carrino & Sarah Kustok - YES Network
- Russell on comeback win (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Atkinson on Nets’ 117-115 win (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Russell scores 40 as Nets come back to beat Magic 117-115 - Dick Scanlon - AP
- Russell pours in 40, rallies Nets past Magic - Reuters
- D’Angelo Russell pumps in 40 as Nets rally to stun Magic - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Caris LeVert ‘progressing nicely’ but Nets return remains unclear - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- D’Angelo Russell leads Nets’ charge back from 21-point deficit in win over Magic - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Treveon Graham shows why coaches are high on him - Greg Logan - Newsday
- NETS 117, MAGIC 115: RUSSELL MATCHES CAREER HIGH WITH 40 POINTS PLUS GAME-WINNER - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS AT MAGIC - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Magic can’t stop hot-shooting Nets as Orlando falls 117-115 at home to Brooklyn - Roy Parry - Orlando Sentinel
- Magic’s painful loss to Nets illustrates Aaron Gordon’s dramatic improvement - Josh Robbins - The Athletic Orlando