The Brooklyn Nets failed to build upon a dramatic comeback win over the Miami Heat on a quick turnaround in Orlando Sunday. Brooklyn fell 116-109 to the Orlando Magic, with several negatives from their recent five-game losing streak resurfacing.
3 Nets takeaways from decisive loss vs. Magic
3. Defense falters on back end of back-to-back
The Nets’ defense propelled them to victory in a crucial matchup with the Heat Saturday. Brooklyn held Miami to 31 points on 11-of-39 shooting (28.2 percent) in the second half on their way to a 33-point advantage. Their activity and engagement on that end led to frequent open threes and fastbreak opportunities.
That defensive focus was nowhere to be found Sunday and the Nets’ offense regressed accordingly. Orlando shot 45-of-85 (52.9 percent) from the field while routinely penetrating the teeth of Brooklyn’s defense to the tune of 58 points in the paint. The Magic had eight players reach double figures. With two days rest compared to a sub-24-hour turnaround for the Nets, Orlando ran Brooklyn off the floor with a 21-10 fastbreak points advantage.
casual @Pp_doesit pic.twitter.com/huKvZJA6YG
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) March 26, 2023
2. Mikal Bridges’ offensive brilliance grows
The Nets weren’t able to find much offense during the loss, but when they did, it came from Mikal Bridges. The breakout forward poured in 44 points–one shy of his career high–on 13-of-22 shooting from the field and 6-of-9 from three. Bridges shot a 12-of-12 from the free-throw line after converting on 10-of-11 attempts in Miami. The former lottery pick has shown a knack for drawing fouls while probing in the mid-range in recent games, a positive sign for his development as a lead ball handler.
Automatic from the Mikalbow pic.twitter.com/o4y20TJuYT
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 26, 2023
The performance marks Bridges’ ninth 30-point performance in 20 games with the Nets. He reached that total just twice in four and a half years in Phoenix. Since arriving in Brooklyn, the 26-year-old is averaging 26.8 points on 50/41/91 shooting splits.
All Brooklyn starters outside of Bridges combined for 9-of-35 (25.7 percent) shooting on the night. Spencer Dinwiddie failed to record a field goal, missing all 11 of his attempts.
1. Brooklyn’s 3-point struggles re-emerge to do them in
In theory, the Nets are a team full of defensively versatile, 3-point shooting wings. However, that shooting has been few and far between during the new-look roster’s first 20 games. Brooklyn shot 32.4 percent from deep on 36.4 attempts per game during a five-game losing streak heading into Saturday.
They broke that trend during the comeback win in Miami, converting on 18-of-40 (45 percent) attempts. That cold shooting would return in Orlando with the Nets shooting just 8-of-35 (22.9 percent) from beyond the arc. Take away Bridges and Brooklyn was an abysmal 2-of-26 (7.7 percent). Head coach Jacque Vaughn has emphasized his desire to rank toward the top of the league in 3-point attempts. This weekend’s back-to-back was an example of the dramatic variance that shot profile can offer.
With the loss, the Nets are tied with the Heat for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn remains in the spot by virtue of the tiebreaker. Vaughn’s squad will return
The post 3 key takeaways from Nets’ decisive loss to Magic appeared first on ClutchPoints.