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Nets look to keep winning streak going vs. Magic

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Orlando Magic v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Lucky seven. It wasn’t the greatest of showings, but the Brooklyn Nets did what they needed to do and came away with the W against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. The win was their seventh in the row and first in front of fans at the Barclays Center this year. After this, Brooklyn has one more home game before hitting the road to wrap up the first half of the season.

The opponent tonight will be the Orlando Magic. Injuries have wreaked havoc on Steve Clifford’s club, but they’re trying to hang in. They had their three-game winning streak snapped with an ugly loss to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30 PM.

Injuries

Kevin Durant is recovering from his hamstring injury. He’s out. Spencer Dinwiddie (torn ACL) is out but rehabbing. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right hip contusion) is probable. Jeff Green (right shoulder contusion) and Landry Shamet (chest contusion) are both questionable,

Cole Anthony is out with a rib injury. Aaron Gordon is out with an ankle injury. Markelle Fultz is out for the year with an ACL injury. Same with Jonathan Isaac.

The game

Brooklyn won the first meeting in January.

The Nets tweaked the roster after Tuesday’s game. They waived Andre Roberson, Iman Shumpert, and Noah Vonleh. Roberson and Shump plan to sign 10 day contracts this weekend so they won’t be going anywhere. The team also picked up Tyler Cook on a 10 day contract so Steve Nash will have a new player to work with. He’s available to play tonight.

Shouts to Bruce Brown. Brown has been a solid starter all season long and had the best scoring night of his career on Tuesday, putting up 29 points while only missing two shots and...

When it’s your night, it’s your night.

The second half schedule was released yesterday evening, and we’ll delve into that more as time progresses.

We got to see someone we haven’t seen in a while. Nicolas Claxton made his season debut, and looked pretty good out there in his 14 minutes. He was active, had a nice alley oop finish and did a good job within the Nets’ switching scheme. Now that he’s back, look for Steve Nash and the coaching staff to bring him up to speed and get him as many clean looks at the rim as possible. DeAndre Jordan will soak up most of the center minutes for the time being, so Claxton will have all the opportunity he needs to develop at his own pace. Our guy Alec Strum has more on Clax’s debut here.

In the meantime, he and DJ will be matched up with a player that has given the Nets plenty of trouble over the years. Nikola Vucevic put up 34 points with 10 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals the first time he saw Brooklyn and the All Star is a good bet to do damage once again. He can stretch the floor, but he does most of his damage in the paint (second in the league in post ups and shooting 69 percent on shots inside of three feet), which spells trouble for Brooklyn. The Nets are allowing teams to score 52 points per game in the paint, second worst in the league (only the Kings are worse). Outside of Vucevic, they might be getting a reprieve in that area as Orlando is second worst in the league at getting points in the paint. That said, we’ve seen the Nets let up career highs too many times this year for them to take their foot off the gas.

As expected, James Harden was named to the All Star team on Tuesday, joining Durant and Kyrie Irving on the squad. He put forth another superstar performance on Tuesday night as he put another triple double on the board and kept making life easy for his teammates on offense. For much of the season, the Nets have struggled with turnovers, but they only coughed it up eight times on Tuesday (four from Harden). With an offense as dynamic as theirs, getting a shot up every possession and not having them go to waste is essential as they have more than enough firepower to go on a nice run and put their opponents in danger.

Player to watch: Terrence Ross

He’s serving as the team’s sixth man, but Ross is someone that they turn to for scoring in a pinch. He’s third on the team in usage rate and points per game and serves as one of the team’s shot creators. I always associate Ross with the Raptors, but as it happens he’s been with Orlando just as long. As the Magic try to make their way to the play in games, they’re going to need Ross to keep their second units stable as guys like Vucevic and Evan Fournier sit.

Irving didn’t have the greatest shooting night on Tuesday, but he still manages to make positive contributions regardless. He had three steals and had a bunch of high energy plays sprinkled in as well. He’s one of the most dynamic, creative scorers we have in the game of basketball and as the Nets keep winning, the more he’ll be able to put his full array of moves on display.

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