Brooklyn Bullies Magic into ‘Nyet’ Submission Cries
The Orlando Magic are falling from their pleasant 2-0 start at a ridiculously rapid pace, and speeding towards the depths of failure. Coach Jacque Vaughn’s side is now 2-3 and resembles a confused mess in comparison to how they were competing to open the ’12-’13 season. The home town team lost to the visiting Nets 107-68 in what was another brutal defeat to witness. Orlando found itself being pummeled on their own parquet court by 39 points, never obtaining the lead throughout those painful 48 minutes. That’s all of the summary one truly needs, but I’ll continue. Nik Vucevic salvaged a rough start to finish with a respectable 10 points and 5 rebounds. Arron Afflalo needs more shot attempts. The former Nugget posted 12 points and 5 of his own boards. E’Twaun Moore was on the parquet floor a game-high 40 minutes and game-high 18 points on 4-of-6 from long distance. Moore’s 6 turnovers though eliminate a lot of his shooting positives. ’3′Twaun’ wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Ish Smith who looked clueless and showed continuous poor judgement. Glen Davis, 4-of-13, is in a rut. Big Baby is having massive issues finding much success scoring. Jumper isn’t dropping and he’s getting block any time he sniffs the rim about half the time. No Brooklyn starter played more than 29 minutes, and Brooklyn’s did a nifty job of spreading out the scoring load. It’s just one of those contests the Magic and its fans will have to erase from their memories. The situation is not getting easier as the Magic have to find a way to adjust for opponents’ game plans. Defenses are no longer allowing cutting lanes and movement is limited. By clogging the paint, they’re daring the Magic’s big men to drill jumpers and Orlando can’t punish them. Josh McRoberts for a second consecutive game started as small forward. Fortunately, McRoberts’ lack of playing time is an indication that even Vaughn knows too much playing time for Josh is an abomination.
Coach Vaughn on trying to generate offense: “It can’t be to the point where we let offense dictate the entire game…it’s a two way street. We need to defend.”
You know it won’t be your night when Brook Lopez began Brooklyn’s scoring barrage with a putback off his own offensive rebound. Brook had no problem torching Nik Vucevic and Gustavo Ayon early, scoring the first 11 of Brooklyn’s 15 points to begin the contest. After 9 minutes of that nonsense, Glen Davis volunteered himself to the coaching staff to guard Brook which saw Big Baby immediately make Lopez’s remaining play very difficult. Orlando only trailed 19-17 after one period. Maurice Harkless upgraded his playing time from appearing in the Timberwolves game with 5.1 seconds remaining in the first quarter, to 13.1 seconds left. Maurice I’m sure knows his rookie campaign will have more than its fair share of ups and downs, but there’s no way he expected ‘Geriatric’ Jerry Stackhouse to drill two 3-pointers within a minute over him. It wasn’t for lack of Maurice’s effort, but it’s an embarrassment to allow Stackhouse to score in double digits off the bench.
Coach Vaughn on the team’s physicality: “Brooklyn came out and played extremely well. They were coming off two losses as well and they showed a desire to fight and to try to get a win.”
Coach Vaughn on DeQuan Jones’ health: “He is still being bothered a little bit by his groin, so it was my decision to not play him.”
The Magic as a whole were having difficulties outscoring just the Brooklyn bench. Avery Johnson’s squad found itself on an 18-4 run and up 39-23 midway through the second quarter as Stackhouse successfully humiliated JJ Redick in the post and beat him baseline. Redick was near invisible with just 4 points off the bench. E’Twaun Moore would momentarily stop the bleeding with a 5-0 personal run. However, the Magic throughout the first quarter couldn’t move the ball, couldn’t play decent transition defense, and would not stop getting abused in the paint. After twenty-four minutes, Orlando was down 50-36 and not finding any offensive rhythm while also submitting 50 FG% to their opponents. Orlando didn’t shoot a single free throw that first half while the Nets were 7-of-10. Not even I could blame Ken Mauer for nonexistent trips to the stripe. The very quiet, somewhat halfway empty Amway Center crowd was spoiled with ‘Quick Change’ as its halftime entertainment act.
A 7-0 run out of the 3rd quarter gates got the Magic reeling in Brooklyn before a Joe Johnson 3-pointer put the Nets up double digits again and Orlando began regressing once more. Orlando was down 70-45 with 2:35 remaining in the period before E’Twaun Moore fed Ayon on a roll and Reggie Evans whacked ‘Goose’ in the head for a flagrant foul. Believe it or not, it was the Magic’s first free throw attempts IN THE GAME! Naturally, Ayon would miss both and the appalling beatdown would continue. Andrew Nicholson was able to flex his talent muscle against the sneaky Reggie Evans. No noticeable ‘below-the-belt’ activity from Evans, thankfully. Andrew finished the game with 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. Nets led 75-51 going into the final 12-minute session. Brooklyn was feasting on offensive rebounds, benefiting from a size advantage at every position. Orlando is on a 3-game skid now and must lick their wounds, study up on film, and learn from their errors before traveling to Brooklyn for a Nets rematch Sunday at 3 p.m.
Andrew Nicholson on the message after the game: “We just have to come in tomorrow and work hard. We have another game on Sunday.”
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.