Reaction: Nets Hold on To Beat Orlando, 82-74
It wasn't pretty, but the Brooklyn Nets (3-2) got its second consecutive win over the Orlando Magic (2-4), Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center. Here's the analysis of the victory:
What we knew: The Nets were coming off a game where their inside presence was felt more than anything. Brook Lopez earned respect from the Magic in Brooklyn's 39-point margin on Friday night, and the Nets got offense from several other weapons. Bottom line: the Nets knew they would have the advantage in the key again today.
What we learned: The Nets, indeed, are better than the Magic, and most teams in the Eastern Conference. In a game they most likely would have lost a year or two ago, the Nets found a way to pull out the win when they were far from their best. After a good start, Brooklyn lost its offensive rhythm later in the game, but was still able to gut out the victory.
Key contributor: Kris Humphries. After Lopez and Andray Blatche put up big numbers in Friday night's win over Orlando, Humphries took control on Sunday, finishing with 14 points and 21 rebounds. Furthermore, the Nets displayed both their dominant inside game and their depth in the front court. Many people have said that the Lopez-Humphries combination wouldn't be enough on the low block for the Nets to be successful, but they have disproved that idea over the last two games. Well, at least in Orlando.
What it means: It's very early, but the win means a lot for Brooklyn. They now have their first winning streak of the season at two, and they move over .500 for the first time since the opening game of the season. The New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers still sit above the Nets in the Atlantic Division, but that will change several times before it even becomes relevant.
What's Next: The Nets will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-4) at Barclays Center on Tuesday night. The Cavs are another team that Brooklyn should be able to beat, and will likely have the inside advantage, although they will have their hands full with Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.