It was a Brooklyn basketball blast.
After falling early, the Nets dismantled the Magic, 129-92. The game featured a 48-point turnaround from down 10 at the beginning of the first to the final score.
Kyrie Irving paved the way with a near-double-double of 27 points and nine assists for five rebounds in 30 minutes, while James Harden flirted with another near-triple-double of 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in 33 minutes. , the Nets got big boosts from two of their role players. Landry Shamet, who continues to build his confidence outside the perimeter, finished with 19 points on 7 of 12 total shots and a 5 of 9 confidence from deep. His most impressive stat, however, may be his plus / minus, an excellent +30! Then there was Nic Claxton in his second game after injury.
Claxton, who once again watched the opening minutes of the first quarter, showed his potential by finishing with 10 points to go along with three rebounds, four steals, two blocks and one assist in 15 minutes, which included a thunderous dunk in the lane. It resulted in a worthy technique to hang on the hoop when the Brooklyn bench exploded with excitement yelling “He’s back!”
As a team, Brooklyn finished the dominant victory shooting 44.4 percent from deep and 53.3 percent overall, while recording 13 turnovers on the road. The Nets are now 22-12 on the season, midgame off the Eastern Conference lead. The eight-game winning streak is currently the longest in the league.
For Orlando, Nikola Vucevic did everything he could to keep his boat afloat. The All-Star finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes followed by James Ennis III with 15 points in 16 m.
It was an odd start for both teams, including four airballs in the first four minutes of play. Brooklyn started the game disjointed offensively, going 2-for-9 from the field as the Nets gave Rover the ball three times in that span, resulting in Steve Nash calling a timeout with 6:47 left in the first.
After the timeout, Nash replaced Nic Claxton and Landry Shamet, but the Magic cleaned up their game as Orlando, led by Vucevic. The Nets began to pick up pace offensively in the final minute, finishing first 28-24.
The Nets rallied in the second in a big way, eventually scoring 60 points in 18 minutes. Brooklyn began its offensive tear with an 8-0 streak, regaining the lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter, and held it.
Harden led Brooklyn’s offensive barrage as the Nets made eight straight shots to increase their lead to eight points with 3:58 remaining and kept rolling. Brooklyn finished the second quarter amassing 41 points and headed to the locker room with a 65-47 lead, shooting 51.7 percent from the field and an increasing 40.9 percent from deep. Brooklyn’s 22-point lead at halftime marked the second-highest positive point differential in a quarter for the Nets this season. To make things even sweeter, the Nets edged the Magic 41-19 in the second.
At the half, DeAndre Jordan, who finished with eight points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes, was the only Net starter not to have double digits. Harden, who fouled three times at the half, led the Nets with 17 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists followed by Irving with 14 points in 18 minutes.
Brooklyn clicked offensively during the second half showing his fluidity and great ball movement, beating Orlando 27-25 in the third to enter the final 12 minutes of play with a long 20-point lead.
The Nets started the fourth by simply pouring it into continuing their offensive barrage. With 7:17 left, Nash took Irving out and released his bench as Chris Chiozza and Tyler Cook signed up to join Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Tyler Johnson and Landry Shamet as the Nets raced through garbage time for their eighth straight win.
Oh yeah, Kevin Durant missed his ninth game in the last 10. It is unknown when he will recover from his hamstring strain.
Now, let’s take a look at a movie.
The movie theater
“He’s the point guard, I’m the shooting guard,” Kyrie Irving’s quote about James Harden from a few weeks ago got a lot of traction in interests. And from an external look, it is easy to understand why; have someone like Kyrie Irving, who has played point guard his entire life in basketball, anoint other player, the honor of bringing the ball to the ground and creating for teammates was a surprise, for sure.
But much of the discourse surrounding that quote may have failed.
Here’s the reality: James Harden and Kyrie Irving … are co-managing the base job. And the escort post too. On some plays, Irving plays away from the action and shows off his unusual cutting skills. In others, it is Harden who positions himself in a grip position, ready to detonate step-back trios. At the end of the day, they are basketball players, showing different skills and talents from around the world according to the needs of the possession. So maybe it’s better to discard positions for a second and focus more on how these two Hall of Famers play against each other.
Despite all the talk about egos, overlapping abilities, and how many basketballs there are (!!), the Nets have played with a sense of humility, looking out for the best interests of others. On multiple occasions, Steve Nash has noticed that his group is clicking. Watching this group take down triples after triples with the bench full of celebration, it’s hard to disagree.
The Nets return to action on Saturday when the team host the Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 pm ET. In the meantime, expect the Nets to officially sign Andre Roberson and / or Iman Shumpert to 10-day contracts.
For a different perspective, visit the Orlando Pinstriped Post, our sister site that covers the Orlando Magic.