The Orlando Magic came into tonight’s game a man down as Aaron Gordon sat out with ankle soreness. The Magic were handed their first loss of the season 126-121.
The Magic got off to a good start against the Nets playing with pace and hitting their shots. The Nets quickly found their way back into the game as Orlando went cold shooting the ball. Orlando had a tough time keeping Brooklyn out of the paint and gave up 32 first-half points inside. Already down Aaron Gordon, the Magic would be without Elfrid Payton who left the game just before halftime with a hamstring injury. As a result, the Magic could not overcome the loss of their two starters and came up short.
The offense was noticeably different without the services of Aaron Gordon. Consequently, Orlando was not able to speed up the tempo like they would like and were forced to run half-court sets. With Elfrid Payton out in the second half, the Magic’s offense sputtered even more. The high flying up-tempo style just was not happening. Evidence of this is the measly 5 points scored on fast breaks. The Magic are not a great shooting team so walking the ball up the floor did not create the best situations. The importance of Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon were seen tonight.
Vucevic on Fire
One bright spot for the Orlando Magic was the play of Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic scored 21 points and recorded a career-high 4 3-pointers in the first half. With the Magic not running the offense with tempo setting up Vucevic on pick and pops was the go-to play call. Outside of pick and pop offense, Vucevic had his way with the Brooklyn defenders in the post. Vucevic was the Magic’s main source of offense all night. He finished the game with 41 points and 11 rebounds shooting 6-8 from behind the arch.
The interior defense for the Magic was the weak point tonight. Brooklyn scored an amazing 60 points in the paint, only 6 of those were on fast breaks. The Magic just could not figure out how to keep the Nets out of the paint. Not only did Brooklyn score the ball in the paint they were able to get Orlando to put them on the free throw line. The Nets took 20 more free throw shots than the Magic going 25-35 while Orlando went 13-15. Many of the Magic’s woes on defense came as a result of penetration from the perimeter not being cut off. The Magic will need to go back to the drawing board to sure up the interior defense.
The Orlando Magic will now go on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night. This will be the first back to back game for both teams as Cleveland got a win over the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. The Magic hope to have both Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton back in the lineup as they look to get back in the win column.