Postgame Report: Magic vs. Nets

by Josh Cohen

LAS VEGAS - It wasn’t uncommon during the 2018-19 season for the Orlando Magic to follow a disappointing loss with an uplifting win.

It also wasn’t atypical for the Magic to turn a poor quarter or half into a great quarter or half.

That team, which will look quite similar next season after they re-signed Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross, learned quickly from heartbreaking defeats and lowly stretches, showing the type of resilience that’s necessary to make the playoffs.

It’s apparent that the Magic’s summer league squad have adopted similar habits.

Trailing by as many as 17 in the first half against the Brooklyn Nets, who feature two starters from last season’s team and another who was a first round draft pick a year ago, the Magic rallied back and controlled a four-point advantage in the fourth before the Nets reclaimed momentum and defeated Orlando, 93-85, on Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.

“Disappointing part of it is that we waited so long and there was no reason for it, no excuse,” Magic Summer League Head Coach Pat Delany said when asked to compare the team’s intensity in the two halves. “We’re playing against a really good team. It’s the NBA. You can’t wait on anybody or anything else.”

“We expended so much energy to get back into the game. We weren’t able to overcome it and that’s the disappointing part. All in all, we could have let go of the rope, but were able to hang in there and give ourselves a chance,” he added.

The one who led Orlando’s comeback in the third was someone who made the Magic’s G League team through an open tryout.

Jeremiah Hill, formerly a Division II college player, auditioned in front of Lakeland Magic staff and was so impressive they decided to give him a shot, signing him for the 2018-19 G League season.

Hill, who scored nine of his 21 points in the third and also had a couple of buckets down the stretch to keep Orlando within striking distance, shot 8-of-14 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range while adding five rebounds, six assists and two steals.

“Each game I’ve played I’ve gotten more confident,” he said. “My teammates are putting more faith in me to make shots that I’m supposed to.”

Dzanan Musa, the 29th overall pick in the 2018 draft who appeared in nine games for Brooklyn last season, led the Nets with 20 points, while Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs, regular starters on the parent club, each poured in 14.

From the same area of the floor where he buried a game-winning 3-pointer against Lakeland in the G League Eastern Conference Finals while playing for Long Island, the Nets’ G League affiliate, Theo Pinson drilled a 3-point dagger with just under two minutes left. The 6-foot-6 swingman out of North Carolina finished with 13 points.

DaQuan Jeffries had another solid afternoon for the Magic, who shot 47.6 percent from beyond the arc but only 40 percent overall. The former Tulsa standout, who went undrafted last month, scored 15 points.

The Magic will play one more game in the tournament. Opponent, date and time will be released on Thursday night.

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