Aaron Gordon's Performance Against Nets May Have Been Best of His Career

by Josh Cohen

BROOKLYN – Aaron Gordon has scored 40 points or more twice in his career. There have been other games where his stellar defense helped the Orlando Magic pull out wins. Earlier this season, he made a game-winning shot in Sacramento.

An argument could be made, though, that his performance against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday was the best all-around game of his career so far. The statistics – 27 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal – tell some of the story. But his clutch play down the stretch to help the Magic win after they trailed by as much as 19 is an even more compelling reason why this may have been his best night.

Gordon, in fact, played a big role on every possession on both ends of the floor in the final two-plus minutes. A terrific pass by the 6-foot-8, 235-pounder led to a Nikola Vucevic dunk with 2:22 left. The 24-year-old San Jose native, who has scored over 20 points in four of his last seven games, drilled two huge shots subsequently – one of them a step-back 3-pointer with 1:12 remaining that put Orlando up four.

But the most memorable play from his spectacular night came on Brooklyn’s second-to-last possession when he rejected Caris LeVert at the rim. For a moment it looked like the Nets’ 6-foot-6 shooting guard was going to have a clear path to the hoop after he made a great cut into the paint. But the fast-moving, athletic and springy Magic forward slid over and timed LeVert’s jump perfectly. Gordon also was able to out-jump LeVert for a critical rebound after Taurean Prince missed a 3-pointer to close out that possession.

Gordon’s passing deserves praise, too. He has now dished out at least four dimes in eight straight games. Not only is he making great reads and finding teammates via post entries, cuts, kickouts and outlets, the six-year NBA veteran is also making smart decisions. In his last six games combined he has committed just eight turnovers. For the season, he’s averaging just 1.6 turnovers, his best mark since 2016-17.

Last but not least, the 3-point shooting is coming along. After going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in Brooklyn, Gordon has now made eight of his last 14 tries.

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