The Orlando Magic would like to put the memories of a disappointing season behind them quickly and knocking off the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night for their second victory to open the season would be a good start to the process. Orlando, which won just 29 games in 2016-17, held off a Miami rally to take its season debut 116-109 at home on Wednesday as guard Evan Fournier poured in 23 points.
“We can’t feel too good about (beating the Heat),” Magic coach Frank Vogel told the Orlando Sentinel. “We’ve got to go in there hungry and fight like we did (in the opener). I was proud of the level of fight that we exhibited. And we’ve got to show that again in Brooklyn.” The Nets were the worst team in the NBA a season ago and made several key offseason changes, but suffered more than a setback in their season opener when guard Jeremy Lin was lost for the season with a ruptured patella tendon. Newcomer D’Angelo Russell scored 30 points as Brooklyn’s offense thrived, but the Nets fell 140-131 on Wednesday against Indiana. “I thought we completely broke down defensively,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters. “I wish I could sit here and say there was one area, but it was a multitude of things.”
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ABOUT THE MAGIC (1-0): Fournier, who topped the team in scoring a season ago, led six players scoring in double figures against Miami and veteran center Nikola Vucevic contributed 19 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Terrence Ross, who had been hampered by a hamstring injury, scored 15 points with three 3-pointers in the opener and had just one turnover in 31 minutes. Newcomer Jonathon Simmons chipped in with 12 points in his Magic debut while first-round pick Jonathan Isaac registered four points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
ABOUT THE NETS (0-1): Russell connected on 12-of-22 shots from the field and power forward Trevor Booker came off the bench to post 20 points and 10 rebounds to key the Brooklyn offense Wednesday. Lin scored 18 points before the injury, but Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert will likely take most of his minutes at shooting guard after recording a dozen points apiece against Indiana. Small forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who averaged 8.7 points in 78 games last season, scored 14 in the opener with four rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes.
1. The Magic have won six of the last seven meetings, but dropped a 121-111 decision at Brooklyn last season.
2. Brooklyn SF DeMarre Carroll, who is expected to help the team’s defense, had 10 points and nine rebounds in his Nets’ debut.
3. Orlando SG Arron Afflalo, who averaged 17.4 points with the Magic from 2012-14, did not play in his return to the team Wednesday.
PREDICTION: Magic 115, Nets 104