The Brooklyn Nets overcame a strong effort from Nikola Vucevic and outlasted the Orlando Magic on Sunday at Barclays Center, 104-96. Rookie guard Bojan Bogdanovic continued to impress, leading the Nets with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting as Brooklyn improved to 4-2.
Orlando fell to 2-5 despite shooting 52 percent from the field and 8-of-15 from beyond the three-point line. Vucevic was dominant, leading all players with 27 points, including 17 in the third quarter alone. Brooklyn center Brook Lopez’s inability to stem Vucevic’s offensive onslaught prompted head coach Lionel Hollins to bench him for the entire fourth quarter.
“[Vucevic] made a lot of shots. And Brook was watching him make a lot of shots,” Hollins said after the game. “He wasn’t guarding him. I want him to guard him.”
Kevin Garnett contained Vucevic in the fourth, allowing Brooklyn to establish its first double-digit lead of the game. The Nets turned in a strong effort on the glass, outrebounding the Magic, 45-31.
Nets backup center Mason Plumlee recorded his fifth career double-double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes of play. Deron Williams added 18 points and tied Garnett to lead the Nets with seven assists.
Magic rookies Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon were nonfactors, contributing just two points each. Orlando head coach Jacque Vaughn sat Payton in favor of backup point guard Luke Ridnour in the fourth quarter. Evan Fournier finished second on the team with 19 points and a pair of three-point shots, while Channing Frye scored 13.
The victory placed the Nets in second place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division. Next, Brooklyn will travel across the country to face the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday – the first in a three-game West Coast road trip. Orlando will visit the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.