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Depleted Nets improve to 5-2 in ‘bubble’ with win over Magic: 108-96

Brooklyn Nets v Orlando Magic Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

There wasn’t much to play Tuesday, but don’t tell that to anybody on the Nets. They’d already clinched the seven-seed and played without Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen, Garrett Temple and Jamal Crawford, but the reserves stepped up and notched a 108-96 victory over the Orlando Magic.

The Nets have now won three straight game, are 5-2 in the “bubble” and 7-2 since head coach Jacque Vaughn took over. And if you go back to March 1, Brooklyn is 9-2. It was the Magic’s fifth straight loss in the “bubble” after a win in Game 1 over the Nets.

The Magic played without Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross, but there’s no sense in discussing a depleted lineup when playing the Nets. They have exceeded all expectations, and continue to stay prepared and poised no matter who is on the floor.

The ‘next man up’ mentality continued...

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot got Brooklyn started, scoring 17 points in the first quarter and 24 on the night to go along with seven rebounds and four 3-pointer. It’s the third 20-point game for TLC in the seven games, giving him a 16.5 scoring average down in Orlando. His shooting line for the “bubble?” 50/43/90! Take a look at his highlights...

“We had complete trust in his work and the work that he had put in, even with the slow start in the scrimmages,” said Jacque Vaughn post-game. “TLC had stayed around and worked on his body with the opportunities that he had – diligent and self-compliance of using the materials and apparatus that he had at his disposal. But at the same time, putting in the work when we got a chance to get back on the court. So, definitely believed in him and will continue to believe in him.”

The Nets trailed 17-13 early in the first, but behind TLC’s lead, the team answered with a 21-5 run to close out the quarter with a 12-point lead. From there, they never looked back. In fact, they built off it.

Brooklyn got help from others who were pressed into service, namely Jeremiah Martin who scored 12 points in the second quarter, which put the Nets up by as a many as 21 in the quarter and 17 entering the second half. Martin finished with a career-high 24 points and six assists on 8-of-15 shooting, a career high.

Orlando hardly stayed around from that point on, cutting it as close as 12. But that was about it. The Nets led by double digits for more than 39 minutes from the first quarter on.

When you watch the Nets, namely guys like Dzanan Musa, Martin and TLC — and how they’ve transitioned game to the big league, it’s only fair to credit the job the Nets have done with the Long Island Nets and those who kept these guys ready for the moment. That goes for Shaun Fein and former head coach Will Weaver, as well as Sean Marks and Long Island GM Matt Riccardi. Of the 14 active Nets, seven played 124 games in the G League this season.

Musa finished the night with a career-high 17 points and Tyler Johnson chipped in 14 — his third straight game in double digits, a season-high for him. Donta Hall came off the bench and looked solid with 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots, one of them a spectacular, volley ball-like spike.

Rodions Kurucs got the start at the f5 and played well covering notorious Nets killer, Nikola Vucevic, who shot just 5-of-15 from the field. The Magic as a whole shot 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from three, dishing out only 13 assists while turning the ball over 17 times. Nine of their turnovers came off steals from Brooklyn, the second straight game where the Nets had nine takeaways.

On the other side, Brooklyn shot 43 percent from the field and 31 percent from three. They dished out 26 assists on 38 made field goals.

The negatives? Chris Chiozza left the game and did not return due to right adductor tightness.

“He’ll get looked at, and hopefully all is clear…I’m going to stay positive and say Chiozza is fine,” said Jacque Vaughn post-game.

Also, Justin Anderson shot 1-of-15 from there field and 0-of-12 from three.

The game plan remained the same despite the lack of talent that was on the floor. Head coach Jacque Vaughn continues to keep these guys prepared and motivated, hoping to ride into the playoffs with momentum.

They own the fourth best record of all 22 teams in the restart at 5-2. Their final game of the regular season comes against the Trail Blazers on Thursday at 9:00 PM EST. The Blazers, unlike the Nets, are competing for a spot in the playoffs.


The big question for the Nets entering the bubble centered around LeVert, Allen and Harris, and whether they can be a supporting cast around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Well, so far, they’ve done quite well individually and as a team. They’re 3-2 in the five games they’ve played, while clinching the seven seed way earlier than anyone could’ve anticipated.


According to Shams Charania, the Nets are beginning to conduct interviews for the head coaching job next year. While Jacque Vaughn is certainly one of the front runners, the job isn’t his for the taking. Shams lists Jason Kidd, Ty Lue, Ime Udoka and Jeff Van Gundy as some possibilities.

What do Nets fans think? So far, Jacque with the majority vote.


The NBA announced that it will name an “All-Bubble” team and “Bubble MVP” for the eight seeding teams. Caris LeVert would certainly quality for the “All-Bubble.” Devin Booker would seem to have the MVP all locked up.

For a different perspective, head on over to Orlando Pinstriped Post, our Magic sister site on SB Nation.


When the league shut down in March, the Nets had the 21st pick —the 76ers pick— in the Draft. Now, the pick sits at No. 19 and could drop to 18 if Philly loses to the Raptors and Mavs beat Suns on Thursday.

The pick’s journey is interesting. On June 6, 2019, the Nets traded Allen Crabbe and two first round picks, their own 2019 pick along with their 2020 lottery-protected pick, to the Hawks for Taurean Prince and the Hawks second in 2021. The deal was a salary dump so the Nets could increase their cap space in their pursuit of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

That left them with one first in 2019 which they had acquired in the Kenneth Faried salary dump in July 2018. Then, on Draft Night, the Nets traded that pick to the Clippers for the 76ers first in 2020 and the rights to Jaylen Hands who had been taken at No. 55 by L.A. It saved them more space. The Nets happily took Nicolas Claxton at No. 31 with the Knicks second rounder they had obtained in late 2017.

So bottom line, the Nets traded the No. 27 pick in the 2019 draft for a pick that that at worst will be the 19th pick in 2020 and at best be the 18th pick. With this year’s Draft seen as mediocre, the Nets could trade it forward again, saving the guaranteed $2.5 million the 18th or 19th pick would comman. Or in theory, they could try to move up by adding cash. Several NBA teams are in need of cash infusion due to the pandemic. The Nets have $5.6 million in cash considerations to play with.


The picture is undated and the location not identified, but it appears that Claxton is enjoying himself while recovering from his June 24 shoulder surgery...

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Just Be You

A post shared by Nicolas Claxton (@nicolasclaxton) on


Facundo Campazzo, the 5’11” Argentine point guard, wants to come to the NBA. A passing wizard, he’s intent on coming next season and has been linked to Mavs and Spurs. But as a little Twitter research shows, he certainly has a fan high up in the Nets as well.

And yes, that’s your owner with the pass.

The Nets (currently) have a lot of guards but the 29-year-old is probably the best basketball player outside the NBA and things happen in the off-season.



Next up: The Nets will play the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday at 9:00 PM ET in the final game of the regular season.