Lake Buena Vista, Fla. —With superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant out for the restart of the season for Brooklyn due to injuries, the Nets are making some noise and are poised to make a playoff run.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarro and Jeremiah Martin both scored 24 points for the Brooklyn Nets to slide past the Orlando Magic 108-96 on Tuesday as both teams look towards the playoffs.
“We’ve been having a good rhythm and playing really well on both ends of the court,” Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot said. “It’s really important going to the playoffs, the first round, so we stayed together.”
Brooklyn’s stingy defense limited the Magic to 29.5% shooting from the field in the first half and the Nets kept the pressure on the ball the rest of the way.
Nets Dzanan Musa had 17 points and Tyler Johnson chipped in 14 with four assists. Brooklyn improved their record to 5-2 in the reopener with their third straight victory.
With the win, Brooklyn locked the No.7 spot in the Eastern Conference and Orlando will be in the eighth, both teams played with limited rosters giving players some rest for the playoffs.
“We had some key guys tonight who have to get ready who didn’t do that. You can’t waste days. We didn’t get much out of this game other than some conditioning,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.
Markelle Fultz and Wes Iwundu each scored 18 points for Orlando, who have lost five in a row after a quick 2-0 start in the bubble.
The Magic are still without starters Aaron Gordon (strained left hamstring) and Evan Fournier (non-coronavirus illness). Terrence Ross returned to campus after leaving for medical tests but has to clear quarantine protocol before he is able to play.
Brooklyn sprinted out to a 16-0 run in the first quarter to turn a four-point deficit into a 29-17 lead. The Nets extended the lead to 57-36 on Martin’s jumper with 2:18 left in the second and had a nice 60-43 stretch going into the break.
The Magic beat the Nets in the return for both teams leading by 30. But this is clearly not the same Brooklyn team they played late July.
“Everybody was laughing at us, saying the Nets were going to look like this,” Jeremiah Martin said. “You were seeing things all over the internet saying we weren’t going to do this and we’re just taking that every day, every game, every practice. We’re keeping that chip on our shoulder, just proving everybody wrong to show everybody who we are.”
Nets: Play Portland on Thursday.
Magic: Play New Orleans on Thursday.