Brooklyn, NY—The Brooklyn Nets (27-18) were happy to return home to their enthusiastic fans at Barclays Center on Monday night for the first of four straight home games after losing their last two games on the road. The 97-77 victory over the Orlando Magic (14-30) extended the Nets winning streak at Barclays to eight games. They raised their winning record at home to 17-7. They also equaled their record for wins in the month of January with 11.
The Nets continue to use their superiority over sub- .500 teams to challenge the Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division. Monday’s win gave the Nets a perfect 17-0 mark against teams with losing records. The Nets now trail the Knicks by 1.5 games.
Losing has become the norm for the Magic. They have a six game losing streak and have lost 17 of their last 19 games.
The Nets after yielding the first four points of the game took control. Deron Williams, with 13 points, led the team to a double figure advantage, 30-20, at the conclusion of the first quarter. They built the lead to 16, 56-40, at the half. Williams led the scoring with 18 points.
The Magic took advantage of sloppy play by the Nets in the third to reduce the advantage to single figures. Glen Davis’s successful free throw attempt at 4:18 in the third was the first visit of an Orlando player to the charity stripe. The third quarter ended with the Nets only holding a seven point lead. Nets Coach P. J. Carlesimo admitted, “In the third quarter our offense was atrocious.”
The Nets began the final quarter in full throttle as they outscored the visitors 23-4 to reach a game-high lead of 26, 93-67, with 4:04 remaining in the game. Of their superiority in the fourth quarter, Williams explained, “We tightened up our defense and took back control of the game. “ The Nets coach gave credit to one of his bench players, Keith Bogans, for the offensive spurt in the fourth, “Bogans basically bailed us out with his offense in the fourth quarter.”
Williams led the Nets in scoring with 20, only two in the second half. Also scoring in double digits were Brook Lopez, 16, Joe Johnson, 13, and Bogans, 12.
The leading scorer for Orlando, Aaron Affalo, was injured and did not play. Queens native Moe Harkless, educated at Forest Hill High School and St. John’s University, made friends and relatives who came to watch him proud as he scored a career-high of 16 points.