Nets at Magic
The Brooklyn Nets got a sneak peek at just how far they are from the top of the Eastern Conference in a 30-point loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Built to contend in their first season in Brooklyn, the Nets have dropped two straight and have allowed at least 100 points in each of their three games. The Orlando Magic, who host Brooklyn on Friday, have been strong at home but dropped back-to-back games on the road.
The Magic are a team in transition after waving goodbye to former franchise player Dwight Howard over the summer. Holdovers like Glen Davis and J.J. Redick helped Orlando to convincing wins in the first two games of the season but the road was unkind. The Magic averaged 84.0 points in the back-to-back losses. One thing Orlando has shown is a willingness to work on the defensive end, something the Nets have yet to display. Brooklyn is allowing 103.3 points and has been struggling on the glass as well.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, YES (New York), FSFL (Orlando)
ABOUT THE NETS (1-2): Brooklyn had the start of its season delayed by Hurricane Sandy and failed to build on a 107-100 win over the Toronto Raptors in their opener last Saturday. The Nets gave up 107 points to the Kevin Love-less Minnesota Timberwolves in a home loss on Monday and were embarrassed 103-73 at Miami on Wednesday. Brooklyn turned the ball over 19 times in the rout, leading to 31 points for the Heat. Newcomer Joe Johnson went 4-for-14 from the floor against the Heat and is shooting 37.8 percent (17-for-45) in the three games.
ABOUT THE MAGIC (2-2): Orlando averaged 108.5 points in wins over Denver and Phoenix to start the season but ran into trouble against the Chicago defense on Tuesday before looking tired on the second night of a back-to-back at Minnesota on Wednesday. The Magic shot just 35 percent in the 90-75 loss to the Timberwolves. Redick played only 20 minutes off the bench in that contest but still led the team with 16 points. The former Duke standout is averaging 17.8 points and has taken over some of the distribution responsibilities for the second unit, handing out 5.0 assists.
1. Magic PG Jameer Nelson (hamstring/groin) missed the game in Minnesota and is questionable for Friday.
2. Johnson has averaged 18.9 points on 46.5 percent shooting in 35 career games against Orlando.
3. The Nets have dropped 10 straight in the series and lost the three meetings last season by an average of 16.3 points.
Magic 102, Nets 98