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December 27th, 2010

Harris, Lopez Can't Keep Nets Close

NEWARK, N.J.The Nets played the Magic tough for most of three quarters on Monday at Prudential Center, but Orlando blew the game open for good early in the fourth, winning 104-88. Devin Harris tallied a game-high 24 points and six assists, while Brook Lopez added 20 points and seven rebounds.

For more, read Jake Appleman's notebook on Click Here

NOTE: If you couldn't attend Monday's NETS-Magic game due to inclement weather, you can exchange your tickets at Prudential Center Box Office for a home game in January starting on December 30th at 11 a.m. The exchanges can be made during Prudential Center Box Office hours or on game nights. Exchanges will be first come, first served; certain prices zones may not be available for certain games.

And as a bonus to all the great NETS Fans who battled the elements to attend the game, you also can exchange your ticket for any home game in January. We thank you for your support and effort during the storm.

Harris, Lopez Can't Keep Nets Close
Monday night against the Magic, Brook Lopez looked aggressive against Dwight Howard for the first time in three games this season, grabbing an offensive rebound on the games opening possession and tagging Howard with a third foul midway through the second quarter. Devin Harris attacked the basket from the opening tip, blowing by hapless defenders for layups twice in the first five offensive sets.

The duo each ended up topping the 20-point plateau normally a welcome sign for a sometimes staid Net offense but couldnt carry the team to victory, each stymied several times by Howard in the second half. The Magics All-NBA center reigned in his happy hands, never picking up a fourth foul, and finished the game with 19 points (5-10 FGs, 9-13 FTs), 13 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Howard got going in the second half, admitted Nets coach Avery Johnson. First half, we held him pretty much in check. We got him in a little foul trouble but thats why hes a superstar. He comes back out in the second half and scores 17 points in the second half. He was dominant. We gave him different looks, but he just didnt buy into our double teams in the second half. He split us, went baseline on us, and it kind of set the momentum of the whole spiral for us in the second half. When we did double team him, their three-point shooters got loose on us and our rotations didnt get their quick enough.

Howard proved one of six Magic players to tally double-figures in scoring (with freshly acquired Gilbert Arenas just shy at 9), and former Net Ryan Anderson also racked up a double-double, posting 10 points and 12 rebounds. The team effort was most evident in the Magics impressive showing from beyond the arc, where they shot 12-for-28 (.428), led by Hedo Turkoglu (20 points, 4-7 3Ps).

The recently reacquired forward, brought back from Phoenix via Toronto fewer than two years after leaving Orlando as a free agent, nailed back-breaking threes throughout the game even as he dished out five assists. With Turkoglu revitalized as one of three new starters, alongside Jason Richardson (14 points, 5-10 FGs, 4 assists) and Brandon Bass (11 points, 5-7 FGs), the Magic found an answer for almost any defensive set of which Johnson could conceive.

They played very well together and we had a lot of defensive breakdowns, We came out awful in practice and played great in the first half. We missed a few shots we should have made but the second we came from the corner off the three point shooters. We came from the baseline when we tried to break Dwight which gave him easy looks.

The defensive breakdowns often came in transition, perhaps a sign the Nets were pressing as the supporting cast couldnt relieve any of the scoring burden Harris and Lopez have long shouldered. Starting swingmen Stephen Graham and Travis Outlaw combined for 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting, and though power forwards Kris Humphries, Derrick Favors and Troy Murphy pulled down 20 rebounds, they scored only 11 points. Even sparkplug shooters Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic couldnt find a rhythm, misfiring on 11 of 15 attempts, though they did tally 15 points.

With the game well out of hand late both teams cleared their benches the Nets third point guard, rookie Ben Uzoh, took advantage. The Tulsa product dropped in six points during the three minutes he played, notably jumping the lane on Chris Duhons entry pass and taking it end-to-end for a dunk.

NETS NOTES Devin Harris led all scorers tonight with 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. Harris has now posted 20-plus points 11 times, including four of the last six games.

--Posted by Ben Couch at 10:40 p.m. (from Macon, Ga.) (No, really.)

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