Preview: Nets at Magic
By Cory Wright
The Brooklyn Nets are looking to finish the season on a positive note. Extending their season-high winning streak to four games and hitting the 20-win mark would definitely count as a positive.
The Nets are undefeated in April, and have won six of their last nine games going into Thursday night’s matchup against the Orlando Magic (7 p.m., YES). The Nets have also won six of their last nine games.
The Nets started their three-game run with a 121-111 win over the Magic on April 1 and can take the season series with a victory in Orlando on Thursday. Brook Lopez scored 30 points in the win, while Trevor Booker scored a season-high 23. The Nets’ bench outscored the Magic’s bench 72-16 in the win.
Brooklyn is coming off a 141-118 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, where they shot 64% from the field (48-of-75), 51.5% from deep (16-of-31) and dished a season-high 36 assists. Brooklyn’s bench had another banner night, scoring 78 points vs the Sixers.
While Tuesday was an explosive night offensively, the Nets defense has also improved during their successful stretch. Brooklyn has held teams under 92 points in three of its last four wins.
Isaiah Whitehead (sprained left ankle) is probable, while Sean Kilpatrick (left hamstring tightness) is questionable.
Brook Lopez (10,396 points) needs 45 more points to pass Buck Williams as the Nets’ all-time leading scorer. Lopez is averaging 20.7 points this season and needs to average just 11.3 over Brooklyn’s final four games.
The Magic enter Thursday’s action on a five-game losing streak.
Orlando has been relying heavily on its starters of late, as their bench has only scored 30 points once during the five-game slide. The Magic’s shorthanded bench managed 16 points against the Nets last week, but Orlando got four 20-point games from their starting five.
Nikola Vucevic scored 27 points with 11 rebounds against Brooklyn and has recorded double-doubles in three of his last five games. The Swiss center is averaging 24 and 10.5 against the Nets this season.