The first game after the trade deadline would have to be against who else but the Orlando Magic and the Waffle King of the NBA and the Nets had to show up without newly acquired Gerald Wallace as well as starters Deron Williams (calf) and Brook Lopez (ankle). The game itself was secondary to all of the hoopla that surrounded Orlando the day before and the “waffling” decision of Dwight Howard to opt into his current contract rather than deal with scrutiny and be a “bad guy” as he so eloquently put it.
The Nets just can’t seem to get healthy and had to go into this one with a starting lineup of Gaines\Brooks\Stevenson\Humphries and Shelden Williams so the deck was stacked up against them before they even took the floor. The Nets also called up another D-League player in Jerry Smith just to have enough bodies to compete and hope for the best. The best did not come on this night as the Nets got down quickly in the first quarter 11-4 as the building was electric with fans pouring out their emotion to Howard for staying (one more year) and it was a struggle throughout. The first half was dominated by Orlando as they seemed to get open shots at will and had many looks from 3pt range but thankfully they didn’t hit as many as usual and the Nets hung tough through horrid night’s by Sundiata Gaines (2-13) and MarShon Brooks (1-11) and fell behind 46-36 at the half. Stevenson threw a half court lob pass to Jordan Williams and the ball went in the basket rather than to Williams and that was about the only highlight of the night for New Jersey.
The second half was the same as the first although the Nets did come out in the third quarter and put on a run to get the game to within eight points but the Magic turned the Nets away again and increased their lead back to twenty behind a balanced effort from everyone The Magic ended with six players in double figures even with the Nets grabbing twelve offensive rebounds but ended up shooting 34% from the field and a disgusting 30% from three (6-20) while allowing the Magic to shoot 50% from the field. Cant win games allowing your opponent to shoot 50% from the field no matter how good you shoot.
The Nets return home today to face a very winnable game against the New Orleans Hornets at the Prudential Center at 8pm. The good news is the Nets fans will get to see their first game with Gerald “Crash” Wallace added to the lineup and the return of their all-star point guard Deron Williams. Lets hope this is the start of a win streak at home as the next three games are against NO, Cleveland, Washington.
Keep hope alive Nets fans!