2. Great bench not a factor when starters struggle
The Brooklyn Nets continued to get solid production from their bench Saturday against the Orlando Magic, outscoring the Magic reserves 46-25, but when the bench is outscoring the starters, it’s not generally a recipe for success.
Shabazz Napier led the reserves with 15 points and Ed Davis tossed in 11 points, but the Brooklyn starters had a generally unproductive performance.
D’Angelo Russell scored 23 of the 43 points logged by the starting unit. Jarrett Allen had six points on limited opportunities, going 3-for-4 from the floor. Treveon Graham knocked down one 3-pointer, but finished 1-for-4 with those three points.
Kurucs was active with seven rebounds and a blocked shot and got some decent looks, but was just 2-for-12 from the floor and 1-for-3 from deep.
Kurucs continues to drive and penetrate, but his lack of wiggle has become a problem — defenses know he’s going straight ahead and plan accordingly, such as this play that turned into a blocked shot by Orlando’s Aaron Gordon in the fourth quarter.
Harris, meanwhile, was held without a 3-pointer for just the fourth time in 50 games this season and the first time since Jan. 6, when he was 0-for-4 against the Chicago Bulls.
He was 0-for-5 from deep — matching his worst performance of the season from Nov. 20 in a road win over the Miami Heat — and just 3-for-12 overall.
It was a tough night for Harris on many levels. He slipped under the basket in the first half and came up hobbling and was slowed again after banging legs with Jarrett Allen while trying to stay with a cutting Evan Fournier at the defensive end.
There were a couple of 3-point attempts from Harris where he hesitated and reloaded before shooting, a significant difference from much of the season where he has caught and shot in the blink of an eye.
The 4 spot has been a black hole offensively for the Nets all season, making it even more important they get production from the other positions in the starting unit. On a night when only the point guard, Russell, is scoring, the Nets are going to have a very hard time winning.