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Magic’s Winning Streak Comes to End With Loss to Nets

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

BROOKLYN - Last season, right around this time of year, Kevin Durant, then a member of the Brooklyn Nets, erupted for 45 points against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center, which ended up being his 2022-23 season high in scoring and the most points tallied by an opponent against Orlando throughout the season.

On Saturday, with the Magic back in Brooklyn, it was the marquee player the Nets acquired from the Phoenix Suns for Durant last February that delivered the goods and overwhelmed the visitors. 

Mikal Bridges scored 26 of his 42 points in the first quarter – a period in which Brooklyn outscored Orlando by 21 – as the Magic’s team-record-tying high nine-game winning streak came to an end with a 129-101 defeat. 

“He got going in transition early – and then he’s a really good player, tough to stop,” Magic forward Franz Wagner said. 

This wasn’t the first time Bridges had a big game against the Magic. The now 27-year-old scored 44 points for the Nets in Orlando on March 26, 2023. The Magic won that night, however. 

Not much has gone well for the Magic in Brooklyn since the Nets relocated from New Jersey in 2012. They are now 4-17 all-time at Barclays Center. Before the move, the Magic won seven of their final eight games across the Hudson River (in both East Rutherford’s Izod Center and Newark’s Prudential Center).  

Like the first meeting this season, which came in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, the Nets made big 3-pointers every time momentum had shifted in the Magic’s favor. They also did something opponents rarely do against Orlando, which was dominate the glass. Brooklyn out-rebounded Orlando 57-36. Defending without fouling was an issue, too, as the Nets took 31 free throws, including 18 by Bridges. They made 23 of them. 

For the second straight game, Paolo Banchero flirted with a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, although he only made six of his 15 floor shots. From a scoring standpoint, he did most of his damage from the free throw line, going 7-for-9 from the stripe. 

“Just trying to make plays, draw the defense and find the open man,” he said of his playmaking. 

Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony each scored 20 points, while Moe Wagner had 18.

Orlando, which shot just 40.2 percent from the field, trailed nearly the entire way.  

Still out were Wendell Carter Jr. (hand) and Markelle Fultz (knee). Jonathan Isaac was listed as available after re-aggravating his previously sprained right ankle during Friday’s game against Washington, but did not enter the game. 

Although they were unable to set a new franchise record for consecutive victories, winning nine straight had not been something the Magic had accomplished since the 2010-11 season. The other two times they won that many in a row came during the 1994-95 and 2000-01 seasons. 

“It’s cool to acknowledge it and be proud of it, but we don’t want to be good in early December – we have to make sure we keep getting better and hope to start another one (winning streak),” Franz said.

The Magic will look to bounce back when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. This is one of two games added to Orlando’s regular season schedule since the conclusion of In-Season Tournament group play. The other will take place on Friday, also at 7 p.m., at Amway Center against the Detroit Pistons.