Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
For the Orlando Magic, the outcome was decided in the first 12 minutes of the game. In the first quarter, the Brooklyn Nets jumped out to a double-digit lead thanks to Brook Lopez and Deron Williams.
Lopez went to work against Nikola Vucevic, making an array of hook shots and midrange jumpers, doing most of his damage almost exclusively on the right half of the court. For all the questions about Lopez’s defensive acumen and rebounding ability, there’s little questioning his offensive skill-set when he gets on a roll. It’s diverse and refined for a 7-foot big man.
As for Williams, he went to work on the perimeter in half-court sets, making two three-pointers off of handoff passes from Lopez.
Lopez and Williams combined to score 17 of the Nets’ 35 points in the first quarter, matching the Magic’s total offensive output in the period.
After the first quarter, Orlando’s defense did tighten up. Brooklyn shot 29.6 percent from the floor after shooting a high percentage (56.5 percent) in the opening period. The problem for the Magic was that their offense continued to sputter up until the final buzzer. This is the main reason why the Nets were able to maintain a double-digit lead until midway through the fourth quarter despite the fact their offense was brought to a screeching halt.
Quality shots were hard to come by for Orlando — part of that was the Nets defense but part of that was also the Magic’s lack of offensive firepower (this trend will likely continue until Al Harrington, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu return from their injuries).
When Orlando was able to get open looks offensively, they didn’t convert very many of them. And when the Magic did start converting them, like they did late in the fourth quarter when they tried to make a late comeback bid after dealing with a double-digit deficit for a majority of the game, it was too little, too late.
That was the game in a nutshell.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Kris Humphries stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 14 points and 21 rebounds, showing once again why he’s one of the best rebounders in the NBA. The 21 rebounds was two shy of his career-high.
The Nets played a crisp first quarter, outscoring the Magic 35-17 in the period. That proved to be the difference in the ballgame, as Orlando couldn’t recover from a deficit that was as much as 20 points early in the second quarter.
That Was … a Chore to Watch
After the opening stanza, this game was a bit of a slog. Brooklyn (37.2 percent shooting from the floor) and the Magic (36.1 percent) played a game that was not easy on the eyes.