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Mikal Bridges' 26 First-Quarter Points Propel Brooklyn Past The Surging Orlando Magic

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Brooklyn guard Dennis Smith Jr laying up the ball

The county of Kings has been very inhospitable to the Orlando Magic this season, as the Brooklyn Nets once again routed the Magic in a double-digit win 129-101, led by a Nets franchise and personal best 26 points in the first quarter from forward Mikal Bridges. It was a rout from the rip as Orlando went down by 21 points in the first quarter and never recovered, with Bridges outscoring the entire Magic team 26-22 in the opening period.

The only intrigue left in the game was if Bridges would score 50 points on the night, which seemed reachable after the big first quarter, yet Bridges finished with 42 points on 12-20 shooting from the field, 3-6 from the three-point line and 15-18 from the free throw line. He is averaging 4.9 free throws for all four quarters, so his stat line was boosted from the foul line, particularly in the first quarter when he made 7-8 free throws.

Orlando came into Saturday's game riding a nine-game winning streak, which saw them fly up the standings and take many people by surprise with their play. Their last visit to Brooklyn resulted in a 124-104 blowout loss to the Nets at Barclays Center on November 14th, which was a close game until the final frame where Brooklyn outscored Orlando 36-18. The Nets seemingly picked up right where they left off in the 4th quarter of the last game against the Magic, by trouncing the visitors in the opening quarter.

A dominant first half saw the Nets lead by 25 points, holding the Magic to 30.4% shooting from the field and 33.3% from the three-point line. The Magic cut the lead to 8 points in the 3rd quarter, but it’s difficult to come back from a huge deficit without playing stout defense or rebounding the ball well and the Magic did neither.

p1050216Orlando hangs its hat on defense ranking third in defensive rating this season, but when they visit Brooklyn, they can’t stop a nosebleed. The visiting team was playing on the 2nd night of a back-to-back after playing in Washington on Friday night and were missing Jonathan Isaac and Gary Harris, but the shellacking that they took felt like it was their Brooklyn destiny and nothing was gonna stop it.

Coach Jacque Vaughn spoke about the lack of concentration on defensive rebounds after the 129-128 nail-biter loss to the Charlotte Hornets in Brooklyn’s previous game, which was corrected as The Nets outrebounded the Magic 57-36 on Saturday night, led by forward Trendon Walker who grabbed 11 rebounds and scored 10 points. 

A dominant first half saw the Nets lead by 25 points, holding the Magic to 30.4% shooting from the field and 33.3% from the three-point line. The Magic cut the lead to 8 points in the 3rd quarter, but it’s tough to come back from a huge deficit without playing stout defense or rebounding the ball well, and the Magic didn’t do either and ended up losing by 28 points.

p1050182Nets guard Lonnie Walker IV sat out the game, which impacted bench scoring while starting point guard Ben Simmons was in his usual position on the bench in street clothes.

Orlando is known for family-friendly theme parks like Disney World and seems unprepared when they cross the bridge into Brooklyn, looking like a map-wielding tourist getting bum-rushed on the 2 train during rush hour.

If the Nets had played the Magic in the final game of the NBA Cup In-Season tournament, where they needed to win by 22 points to grab the tiebreaker, perhaps the Nets would have advanced to the knockout round. p1050345

Guard Spencer Dinwiddie turned in a strong game with 22 points, along with guard Cam Thomas who scored 20 inefficient points, shooting 7-23, but grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. The Nets hit the road after a home stand where they went 4-1, going to Atlanta to take on the Hawks December 6th.


Richard Burroughs

About the Author: Richard Burroughs

Richard Burroughs is a Brooklyn-based sportswriter and sports enthusiast covering the Brooklyn Nets and the NY Liberty for BK Reader, where he also writes editorial content.
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