Keith Bogans and J.J. Reddick
The Brooklyn Nets will play the first day game in Brooklyn today since the 1950’s as the Nets host the Orlando Magic in the second game of a home-and-home. In the first game, the Nets won by 39 points in Orlando, winning by the greatest margin of victory ever for the franchise in a road game. Even more surprising, the entire Orlando starting lineup did not attempt a single free throw the entire game and Brook Lopez alone made as many foul shots as the entire Magic team (4).
The Magic (2-3) will try and bounce back after that tough loss on Friday, but it will be hard with the lack of talent on this roster. In addition to losing Dwight Howard in the offseason, Orlando will also be without Jameer Nelson, Al Harrington, and Hedo Turkoglu. This team will struggle to win games all season, especially with those three players out. In the game on Friday, Orlando was led by E’Twaun Moore’s 18 points and 5 assists, although the team was held to 68 points total in the game.
Brooklyn (2-2) will try to keep the momentum it has built up from that game and continue to play with the same intensity. Before the Magic blowout win, the Nets lost to the Miami Heat by 30 points. This team has been very up-and-down in their first four games and we will see which team shows up today. Hopefully it will be the team that won by 39 points on Friday and not the team that blew a 22-point lead to Minnesota at home.
Injuries: The Magic will be missing three of their more talented players, Al Harrington, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu. This is a bad team and it will be even worse without those average NBA players. Gerald Wallace is doubtful for this game for Brooklyn. Marshon Brooks is also a game-time decision and I have a feeling that he won’t play.
Deron Williams vs. E’Twaun Moore. Advantage: Williams
E’Twaun Moore has been better than expected early on this season, including on Friday against the Nets. However, I expect Deron to finally have a good game tonight. The key for Deron is assist-to-turnover ratio. So far this year, it has not been very good. Deron cannot have as many unforced errors where he just throws the ball out of bounds.
Joe Johnson vs. Aaron Afflalo. Advantage: Johnson
Let’s see if Joe Johnson will finally have an effective game tonight for Brooklyn. He hasn’t had a 20-point game yet and I think he is due for one. Afflalo is a pretty good defender but Joe should be able to create his own shots today.
Keith Bogans vs. Josh McRoberts. Advantage: Bogans
Neither of these players is going to have a major impact in the game. Both players are journeymen forwards who have never found a real home in the NBA. McRoberts was a Laker last year and did not make much of an impact on that team. He will be starting until Turkoglu comes back from his injury. Bogans is also starting in place of Gerald Wallace who is injured. Bogans can make open 3’s on offense and is a pretty good defender.
Kris Humphries vs. Glen Davis. Advantage: Tie
Davis is going to need to carry the load offensively for Orlando to have a chance in this game. He proved that he was able to score against the Net bigs on Friday. Hopefully Humphries will do a better job defensively today.
Brook Lopez vs. Nikola Vucevic. Advantage: Lopez
Brook had a very good game on Friday and I think he will have another good one today. Vucevic is not a great defender and Lopez should be able to score some easy baskets in the paint and get some foul calls as well.
Prediction: Nets 109, Magic 97.
This game will be closer than the game on Friday. NBA teams just don’t get blown out against the same opponent in back-to-back games. However, I give Orlando a very small chance of winning this game. The Nets are back at home after a 2-game road trip and the Nets crowd should be pretty good in the first ever day game in Brooklyn.