While Jonathan Isaac is the only player standing during the anthem, with his jersey instead of the “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts worn by his comrades, it is Brooklyn who takes the best start in the meeting.
Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen combine well and the Nets put a lot of pace in this early game where the shots are linked at high speed. Chris Chiozza finds his pivot under the circle and Steve Clifford is forced to call a time-out to cut the tempo, Nikola Vucevic not being able to follow on his own.
The good news for Orlando is that the Montenegrin pivot causes his direct opponent’s second foul under the circle, and that there are not many people left to protect the basket on the Brooklyn side.
Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot (24 points 5/8 away) is however illustrated at long distance for the Nets still in the lead (39-36) at the end of the first quarter. But we are very clearly starting to feel the absences from the Brooklyn coast, with an impressive Jonathan Isaac activity as soon as he sets foot on the field.
Yet at +30, Orlando cashed a 0-18 at the end of the match …
Markelle Fultz drops an ugly airball at mid-distance then commits a walk, and the LeVert / Allen duo regain momentum, but the Nets defense begins to crack, and Orlando makes a first gap (70-59) at the half -time.
And it will not get better at all when we get back from the locker room. The Nets’ offense was clearly in overdrive early in the game, as Evan Fournier gained confidence behind the 3-point line. In line with his rear, and a Nikola Vucevic who still works Jarrett Allen, the gap keeps swelling.
It even reached +30 (107-77) two minutes from the end of the third quarter!
Steve Clifford can turn, Jonathan Isaac taking the opportunity to further enhance himself, while Mo Bamba in turn tries to shoot from afar, with much less success. The Magic replacements do anything and it turns into 18-0 for Brooklyn, Orlando no longer able to find the way to the circle …
The Magic coach is forced to put his holders back on the field, who will not score either, but Brooklyn has gone too far, and Orlando still wins (128-118) to take 7th place in the Is.