The Brooklyn Nets snapped their mini 2-game losing streak Sunday night, defeating the Orlando Magic at home 97-88. The Nets used a nice 15-0 third quarter run to take the lead and it was never very close after that. Mirza Teletovic led the Nets with 20 points off the bench. Mason Plumlee chipped in with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tobias Harris scored 18 for Orlando.
The Nets were sleepwalking through the first half tonight, but turned it around in the third quarter because of their 3-point shooting. The Nets started to get good looks and knocked them down. Overall, they were 12-29 from 3 tonight, good for over 41%. Another interesting stat tonight was the rebounding. The Nets outrebounded Orlando 43-31, which was surprising considering rebounding is the team’s biggest weakness.
With this win, the Nets can finish no lower than 6th in the east. If they can pick up one more win of if Washington loses one more game, they clinch the 5-seed. All they have left now is to find out who they will play in the first round, Toronto or Chicago.
Player grades and notes:
Paul Pierce: B+
Pierce played pretty well for the first 2.5 quarters, but then re-injured his shoulder midway through the third quarter. This is definitely something the Nets will need to watch going forward. They can’t afford to be without Paul Pierce in the playoffs. Kidd will have to decide if he should rest him the remainder of the regular season, or play him on Tuesday, because you know Pierce wants revenge against Manhattan.
Deron Williams: B+
Deron did not play well at all in the first half, but had a good third quarter to make up for it. His shots were falling in the third and he finished with four 3’s. He also had 4 steals, extending his impressive steal streak.
Joe Johnson: B+
Joe had his typical game tonight, knocking down some open shots, working well within the offense, and playing smart on defense. I’m surprised he hasn’t been given a night off for one of these games, but I guess that means he is completely healthy heading into the playoffs.
Mason Plumlee: A
Plumlee had another very good game tonight against a bad team at home. He finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. He had some spectacular dunks and really nice alley-oops. His rebounding and free throw shooting continue to improve as the season winds down and he appears to be a lock to play meaningful minutes in the playoffs.
Mirza Teletovic: A
Mirza had a really good shooting game tonight, shooting 4-7 from 3. He even had a great dunk when he rumbled down the lane and no Magic player got in his way. Defensively, he played well against bigger Orlando power forwards, which is a good sign heading into the playoffs.
The Nets will have an off day tomorrow night and then play their last home game of the season on Tuesday against the Manhattan Knicks, who are mathematically out of the playoffs. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.