The Brooklyn Nets went into Friday’s game vs the Orlando Magic on a 6 game win streak and the east’s new number 1 seed. But the Nets could not maintain the same spark and energy they’ve played with recently, losing to the Magic 121-113. It was a rough game for the Nets, as the shots they usually hit were not falling and the Magic couldn’t seem to miss. Here are some key takeaways from the game.
A player that has been in a number of trade rumors with the Nets, Gordon went off today. He scored 38 points in what was a dominating night for him, scoring inside and out. Gordon couldn’t miss from behind the arc, going 7/8 from 3. The Nets also had no answer for him around the rim, as Gordon continually punished the Nets’ smaller players. Aaron Gordon showed tonight why he is a valuable player and should be considered as a trade asset.
Harden’s off night
James Harden was coming off of an MVP performance last game that extended the Nets win streak to 6 where he 40 points and dished out 15 assists in a win vs the Pacers. Tonight, however, Harden couldn’t find his comfort zone and look out of it all game. He couldn’t get foul calls and his usual shots around the rim weren’t falling. In addition, his 3 point shot has continued to disappear, aa Harden went 2/8 from the 3 and has only hit 5 threes in the past 4 games. Harden was almost a non-factor tonight, which shows how valuable he is, as the Nets looked lost without him.
During the Nets’ run these past few weeks, they have seen really solid play from their bench. Landry Shamet has been coming along nicely and Bruce Brown, Nicolas Claxton, and Tyler Johnson have all been solid. But tonight, no one besides Kyrie, Harden, and Joe Harris showed up. The bench was missing open shots they usually make, and it is impossible to win a game playing like that. Kyrie tried to put the team on his back but the Nets defense was just not good enough to get the necessary stop to win.
Overall, not too much should be taken from this game. The Nets were on a 6 game win streak but recently have been in a handful of close and have honestly looked tired. They have played in a lot of games in very few days recently and the win streak had to end eventually. The absence of Kevin Durant is really starting to show, but long term, there is nothing to be worried about. Durant will be back soon and Harden doesn’t have many games like he did today. Remember, it isn’t about a win streak, it’s about the long run and winning a championship.