Nets, Magic collide down south

11:58 AM, Nov 9, 2012   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Brooklyn Nets try to snap a two-game losing streak Friday when they visit the Orlando Magic, who have also dropped their last two.

The Nets got creamed by the defending champions, the Miami Heat, on Wednesday night to the tune of 103-73. Florida may be a beautiful part of the U.S., but the Nets have to hate crossing state lines.

The Nets have lost their last 15 games in Florida, including seven to the Heat and eight to the Magic. Overall, the Nets have lost the last 10 to the Magic. Their last victory over Orlando came on April 11, 2009.

"We're not where we need to be," said All-Star guard Deron Williams, referring to the team's play, not the geography dilemma. "You want to have the confidence where, every time you step on the floor, you feel like you're going to win. The trust isn't there on both ends of the floor. We're still working on that. It's not consistent enough."

The player the Nets need to get going, and quickly, is Joe Johnson. The former All-Star, who came over in an offseason trade with the Atlanta Hawks, is averaging a paltry 14.0 ppg. He hasn't had a lower average than that since the 2002-03 season, his second in the league.

The whole offense was a disaster against the Heat. The Nets failed to score 20 points in each of the last three quarters and lost by 30. They shot 37.5 percent from the floor, 14.3 percent from the 3-point arc, and 58.8 from the foul line.

The Magic have sputtered off late with road losses to the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. It was a back-to-back scenario for the Magic, who are without starters Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson, and key reserve Al Harrington, who hasn't played all season.

In Minnesota, the Magic was done in by a late run in the third quarter, then things spiraled down the drain. The T-Wolves led by as many as 27 points in the second half.

"We were back in it, down five, they're at the free-throw line, we don't get a box-out, and they score a "3" on it, basically a four-point play, back to nine and continued from there," said Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn.

A pleasant surprise for Magic fans was Maurice Harkless, a first-round pick who came over from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Dwight Howard trade. He saw the first action of his NBA career Wednesday, played 22 minutes, scored seven points, grabbed five boards, had three steals and two blocks.

"I was nervous when I first got out there," said Harkless. "I didn't know until we were warming up. Usually I don't wear my jersey because I know I wasn't playing. Today I put it on."

The two teams meet on Sunday in Brooklyn.

The Sports Network

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