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Another Stifling Defensive Effort Leads to Another Orlando Magic Victory, This Time Over the Brooklyn Nets

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

ORLANDO - The last time the Brooklyn Nets were in Orlando, which was March 26, 2023, Mikal Bridges erupted for 44 points, tied for the second most by a Magic opponent during the 2022-23 season. He also had a 42-point performance when the Magic were in Brooklyn earlier this season.

On Tuesday, with the Nets back in Central Florida, the 6-foot-9, 209-pound swingman was held to a season-low four points, thanks in large part to the job the Magic as a team did defensively containing him and the rest of the Nets in a 108-81 victory at Kia Center.

Orlando held Brooklyn to 39.7 percent field goal shooting and Bridges, who’s averaging a shade over 21 points per contest this season, to 2-of-14 overall shooting and 0-of-7 from beyond the arc. The 81 points scored by Brooklyn were the fewest by an Orlando opponent this year and the third fewest by any team. 

“I’m very proud of this group – being able to bounce back after that Atlanta game and what we did there,” Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “I think our guys did a great job of taking the coaches messages, and applying it. Defensively, staying focused, understanding the game plan.”

Not only did the Magic overwhelm the Nets with their defensive pressure and intensity, but they also were sharp offensively, even without All-Star Paolo Banchero, who missed his second straight game with an illness.

Franz Wagner, in just 28 minutes, recorded 21 points, five rebounds and five assists for the winners, who shot 52.7 percent from the field. It was the sixth time in the Magic’s last 13 games that they’ve shot at least 50 percent from the floor. 

Moe Wagner finished with 16 points and five rebounds, while Cole Anthony scored 12 and Markelle Fultz, coming off the bench for a second straight game, had 12 points as well. Orlando’s reserves outscored Brooklyn’s 51-41. 

In addition to Banchero, the Magic were without Jonathan Isaac due to a left knee strain. The 6-foot-10 forward, however, is not expected to miss much time and was relieved to see the results of his MRI after taking a tough fall in Atlanta.

“Really the focus is Thursday, most likely, and then we’ll go from there,” said Isaac of when he expects to return. “I don’t see this really as a setback at all. Just a bit of a sore knee and I’ll just take it day-by-day. I feel good about Thursday, (so) we’ll see.”

Trendon Watford led Brooklyn with 17 points. Dennis Schroder (15 points) and Nic Claxton (10 points) were the only other two Nets players who scored in double figures. 

The Magic are now 14-1 this season when holding their opponent below 100 points, with their lone loss coming at Miami on Jan. 12 when the Heat won 99-96. Last season, only eight times did an Orlando opponent score under 100 points. 

Orlando’s three-game homestand continues Thursday when it hosts the Utah Jazz at 7 p.m.