The New Jersey Nets started their day with the hopes of having Deron Williams back in time to face the Orlando Magic, but their day ended with a disappointing close game that ended in a 85-95 loss. With the loss New Jersey's record is 23-48. Orlando improves to 47-26.
The Nets hopes were dashed as Williams was ruled out early in the day, and they were left shorthanded. Combined with the news of the newly signed Sundiata Gaines out for the rest of the season with a fractured hip, the Nets were left very thin in the backcourt.
Anthony Morrow led the Nets with 19 points, Farmar added 15 points, 16 assists and five rebounds. Kris Humphries contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds, with Brook Lopez and Sasha Vujacic adding 10 points each.
Magic were led by Howard’s game-high 21 points, along with 14 rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu put up 20 points. Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass pitched in with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Former Nets Ryan Anderson had 15 points off the bench.
If the New Jersey Nets thought they had a chance against Dwight Howard and the Orland Magic at full strength then what chance do they have without Deron Williams?
In the first quarter, New Jersey jumped out to an early 7-1 lead, causing Orlando to call its first timeout at the 10:18 mark. Four minutes later, New Jersey was on the tail end of Orlando’s 15-4 run with the score now 16-11, causing New Jersey to call a timeout.
Will New Jersey make the playoffs next season?
New Jersey kept pace with Orlando and trailed 20-25 at the end of the first quarter.
Orlando scored six points to open up the second quarter before New Jersey put an end to the drought with an Outlaw layup.
With 6:18 remaining in the second quarter, score at 26-37 in favor of Orlando, New Jersey went on a 9-4 run and pulled within five points of Orlando with 3:02 remaining in the second on an Anthony Morrow three-point field goal.
Orlando finished the first half strong with a three-pointer from Ryan Anderson and five points coming from Howard.
As the first-half buzzer sounded, New Jersey was trailing Orlando 38-48.
The third quarter was much more favorable for the Nets, as they never trailed by more than eight points, which was the deficit at the beginning of the third-quarter.
With 2:29 to go in the quarter, New Jersey came within two points of Orlando, with the score at 61-63.
The third quarter ended with New Jersey trailing 63-66.
With 10:08 to go in the fourth, New Jersey took their first lead since the first quarter as Sasha Vujacic drained a three-pointer to put the Nets up 68-66. The lead didn’t last long as Anderson's three-point jumper put the Magic back up 68-69.
New Jersey was as close as 80-85 with 2:11 left in the game, but the “Hack-a-Shaq” tactic implemented by coach Avery Johnson to force Howard, a notoriously bad foul shooter, to go to the charity backfired as Anderson grabbed an offensive rebound off Howard’s missed free throw and ended up being turned into a Chris Duhon three-pointer that put the game out of the Nets reach at 80-88.