G4 BKN Nets vs ORL Magic: “Who Can Stop Vucevic?”

After taking care of two straight home games with 2 home wins, Coach Kenny Atkinson emphasized the importance of defense if they expect good results against Orlando Magic in their home court. The Nets beat the Magic 126-121 in a close game at home but it will be a tough second road game as they gave up 141 points in their first road game in Indiana.

The emergence of Jarret Allen (4pts, 4rebs, 4blocks in 15 min) should help to provide more defensive presence. Allen was slightly more effective than Mozgov in guarding Magic center, 7′ Vucecic in the first game although he gave up 30 lbs. Vucevic hit 6-8 threes on his way to finish with career-high 41 points and 12 rebounds in the first game so slowing him down would be a challenge to both Allen and Mozgov. He proceeded to lead the Magic with 23 points and 7 rebounds in a 21-point road win against the Cavaliers. He and the Magic would be eager to avenge the loss in their home court.

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Four nights after scoring a career-high 41 points, Vucevic and the Magic host the Nets on Tuesday night in a matchup of teams trying to improve their records to 3-1.

Vucevic is averaging 27.7 points and 10.7 rebounds on 68 percent shooting from the field (34 of 50), including 50 percent from 3-point range (7 of 14). By comparison, Vucevic scored 35 points in the first games of last season when Orlando began 0-3.

When the teams got together Friday, Vucevic went 17 of 22 and hit a career-high six 3-pointers. Orlando rebounded nicely from its close loss to Brooklyn by producing a 114-93 rout in Cleveland on Saturday.

Brooklyn held Atlanta to 34 percent shooting from the field, its best since Kenny Atkinson became the head coach last season. The Nets achieved that number after Atkinson said the defense had a “ways to go” following the Friday win.

“We did a better job defensively. We got a few stops,” Atkinson said.

Still, the coach wants to see more progress.

“There was no tactical adjustment,” Atkinson said. “I think it is just our habits improving, our attention to detail improving. But listen, I still think we have a long way to go.”

One thing the Nets could do better is cutting down on fouls. Opponents are averaging 27.7 foul shots per game against the Nets after the Hawks took 36 free throws Sunday. Even so, Brooklyn is in position to start 3-1 for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

In the meantime, Jeremy Lin is recovering from the knee surgery and appreciated the video from 100 fans in Taiwan wishing him well and speedy recovery. He probably can’t wait to start the rehab to be able to be back on the sidelines cheering for his teammates. Even then, it might take 1-2 months before it can happen.

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