One more time, the Brooklyn Nets were sharp in digging deep into the roster for a 108-96 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday afternoon.
A week ago, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen were out for Brooklyn’s game against the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks, and the Nets put together an explosive offensive performance for an upset win. This time against the Magic, Garrett Temple and Jamal Crawford — who hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in that game against the Bucks — were also out along with that trio, leaving the Nets with nine available players.
And it was no problem.
Brooklyn took control with a 16-0 first-quarter run and led by double figures the rest of the way as six players scored in double figures. The Nets improved to 5-2 on the NBA Campus with one seeding round game left against Portland on Thursday before they begin the playoffs against Toronto next week.
“It's a great performance,” said head coach Jacque Vaughn. “The first two quarters (we held Orlando to) 22 and 21 points respectively and for us to want to play well and for us to want to be gritty and not shy away from contact and be the aggressors. We want to keep this momentum and also keep our poise at the same time. So great effort by our guys tonight.”
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Jeremiah Martin each scored 24 points to lead Brooklyn, with Luwawu-Cabarrot shooting 8-for-12 overall and 4-for-8 from 3-point range and also grabbing seven rebounds. Martin handed out six assists.
Placed in the same position a week ago against Milwaukee, Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 26 to lead the Nets in their win against the Bucks. And with his 24 points in the restart opener against the Magic back on July 31, he’s got three 20-point games in Brooklyn’s seven games.
“We had complete trust in his work and the work that he had put in,” said Vaughn. “Even with the slow start in the scrimmages, TLC had stayed around and worked on his body with the opportunities that he had, diligent and self-compliance of using the materials and apparatus that he had at his disposal. But at the same time putting in the work when we had a chance to get on the court. So definitely believe in him and will continue to believe in him.
Dzanan Musa had 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists, and Tyler Johnson had 14 points and five assists. Lance Thomas added 12 points and Donta Hall had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Musa and Martin both posted career-high scoring games.
“Both of them were really aggressive,” said Vaughn. “We went to Musa early and often and got him going a little bit. He has the ability to get to the paint and get to the free throw line so lot of times that will help you offensively. Then Jeremiah and his confidence just continue to grow. He watches the game, he processes it and then plays with instincts. So it's great to get those guys an opportunity to play tonight.”
The Nets were up 60-43 at halftime.
Luwawu-Cabarrot powered a fast start, scoring nine of Brooklyn’s first 11 points. With the Nets trailing 17-13, Luwawu-Cabarrot stepped in again to launch a 16-0 Nets run with a corner three. That was the first of four straight Nets 3-pointers, with Musa connecting and Johnson knocking down two straight off Musa feeds. Johnson followed with an elbow jumper and Luwawu-Cabarrot’s two free throws had the Nets up 29-17. Another Luwawu-Cabarrot 3-pointer gave him 17 points for the quarter and put the Nets up 34-22.
The Nets pushed their lead as high as 21 points in the second quarter as Martin went for 12 points in the quarter and Brooklyn took a 17-point lead into the break.
When Luwawu-Cabarrot opened the second half with another 3-pointer and then cut through the lane for a finish off a Chris Chiozza dish, Brooklyn was back up by 21, 65-44. Orlando cut into the lead with a 9-0 run, but the Nets took an 85-72 lead into the fourth quarter.