Sports

/

ArcaMax

Nets dig out of early hole to cruise past Magic, 129-92

Kristian Winfield, New York Daily News on

Published in Basketball

NEW YORK — The Nets unleashed the full force of their power on the Magic at Barclays Center on Thursday. James Harden, Joe Harris and the Nets blew the Magic out of the water with a 129-92 win at home, scoring 41 points in the second quarter alone. The win is the eighth straight victory for the team playing its best basketball of the season.

The Nets remained without Kevin Durant, who missed his sixth straight game with a hamstring strain. They also played without Spencer Dinwiddie, who suffered a partial ACL tear in the third game of the season.

Every Net who played on Thursday night scored, even the bench thoroughly outplayed Orlando’s, outscoring them, 46-28. They’ve rolled on, without their best players, and have looked like a team that has finally figured it out on both ends of the floor. The Nets defense held the Magic below 30 points in each quarter and below 20 in both the second and fourth quarters. Orlando held a 28-18 lead in the first quarter. The Nets outscored them, 111-64, after.

The Nets sealed their win before halftime.

The Magic took a 28-24 lead into the second quarter with Orlando’s All-Star Nikola Vucevic, scoring 10 points in the first eight-and-a-half minutes.

Harden got it going, logging 13 of his 20 points in the second quarter alone. Harris didn’t miss a shot in the period, burying a pair of 3s, and Tyler Johnson came off the bench with a quick trigger that knocked down two treys from the pine.

The Nets continued to get quality minutes out of Bruce Brown, the utility player who has played a number of positions for the Nets this season. Brown finished with 10 points and two steals, bringing energy to both ends of the floor.

 

The Magic were without several of their best players. Jonathan Isaac (ACL), Aaron Gordon (ankle), Markelle Fultz (ACL) and New York’s own Cole Anthony (fractured rib) have all been out for an extended period of time. The Nets, aside from Dinwiddie and Durant, were also without veteran forward Jeff Green, who did not play due to a shoulder injury he sustained against the Clippers.

Kyrie Irving finished with 27 points and nine assists, shooting 11-of-18 from the field and finishing with just one turnover. Nets reserve sharpshooter Landry Shamet also found his stride, finishing with 19 points and nine rebounds off the bench — he also hit five of his nine attempts from downtown to move his three-point percentage above 40% for the month of February.

Harden pulled down nine rebounds and handed out seven assists to go with his 20 points.

The Nets swept their five-game West Coast road trip then came home and successfully defended home court twice. They will face a new challenge in their next game as All-Star starter Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks come to town on Saturday.

There is still no word on whether Durant will return from his hamstring injury for that game, though Nets head coach Steve Nash was optimistic the former league MVP would return before the early March All-Star break.

At this rate, Durant’s presence and production could be overkill for a team that has won seven of its last eight games without him.

©2021 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.