AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
It just never felt like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson were even trying. Mostly because the Nets were up by double-digits while the dynamic duo was in the game in the first half. The two didn’t play much in the second half, as Brooklyn enjoyed a 30-point lead for most of it. Orlando showed absolutely no threat and Brooklyn rolled.
When you can’t score, you have to play defense. The Magic struggled in that department. When you can’t score and you can’t play defense, you have to at least protect the ball. Again, Orlando struggled. What was evident in Friday night’s slaughter was a real lack of leadership. At times, the Nets doubled Glen Davis and by default dubbed him “the threat.” But when he escaped and kicked the ball out, there wasn’t much working, save for the occasional E’Twaun Moore push runner.
At this point, it is clear that Orlando misses Jameer Nelson and abundantly clear that E’Twaun Moore is not fully equipped to carve out a spot for himself in the league as a leader or starter. Moore’s early (and ridiculous) turnovers might have been jitters, but to be honest he looked lost. It would be nice if he was playing behind a veteran and not thrusted into a leadership role as he has been in the absence of Jameer.
Glen Davis continued to work his butt off but struggle. He became an easy mark on Friday and was unable to get any midrange looks (usually the result of a spread floor and multiple options). It will be nice for the Magic to have Turkoglu back, when his broken hand heals, to add a little size and versatility to the offense.
It appears as if Orlando, when not in the mindset of “we have to screen and execute perfectly on every possession or else we will lose,” is extraordinarily bad. The execution was not there, the screening and movement off the ball were not there, and the “fight for your life” mentality was not there. When you don’t have a star and several of your veterans are on the bench, that is a recipe for a blowout.
A lingering problem is the inability to create. Orlando, by the end of the third quarter, shot only two free-throws (missing both). There is little attacking and seemingly little ability to get to the hole with any kind of effectiveness.
On the positive side, the Magic still have guys who do a lot of things right. Andrew Nicholson provided strong play, albeit in short minutes. J.J. Redick was assertive and the team defense, at times, looked to at least be on the same page. Aaron Afflalo had a few bursts as well, but Orlando needs a constant scorer or a constant team effort if they are going to not get blown out every game.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Off the bench, Nicholson went 4-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. The rook gathered three rebounds, threw down two dunks, ran the floor well, and finished with 10 points in 12 minutes. Let’s talk about efficient.
LVP (Least Valuable Player)
In 14 minutes, Smith went 1-for-5 with two points, turned the ball over three times, threw an alley-oop to nobody, and recorded a clean -25 for the game.
Orlando started the third quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by a three pointer by Afflalo. They closed the deficit to seven and then realized they had nothing left to throw in the furnace. It became abundantly clear that the Magic cashed out in an early second half run and would then fold.