NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 9th (All times Eastern)
Brooklyn Nets (43-34) at Orlando Magic (22-55), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jason Kidd is making a case for NBA Coach of the Year for turning around the Brooklyn Nets.
After a disappointing start to the season, the Nets have catapulted themselves up the Eastern Conference standings and look to keep rolling Wednesday against the Orlando Magic in the finale of a three-game road trip.
Brooklyn completed a four-game season sweep of the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat with Tuesday's 88-87 triumph and Mason Plumlee came up with a huge block on LeBron James in the waning moments to seal the win.
Nets leading scorer Joe Johnson tried extending the lead and missed a shot that was rebounded by Heat veteran Ray Allen. Allen then dished the ball to James, who drove the lane before feeding Rashard Lewis underneath. James got the ball back in the paint and was blocked by Plumlee on a dunk attempt.
"You have the best player in the world going against a rookie and we got lucky," Kidd said.
James was looking for a whistle, but no foul was called as replays clearly showed Plumlee's terrific defense.
Johnson scored 19 points, Marcus Thornton added 16 off the bench and Paul Pierce finished with 14 points for Brooklyn, which has won three straight and six of seven games, and improved to 33-13 since Jan. 1.
Pierce needs five more points to become the fourth active player (Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett) and 18th in NBA history with 25,000 career points.
The Nets shot 53 percent for the game and pushed its road mark to 16-23.
Brooklyn sits two games behind Toronto for the Atlantic Division lead and is fifth in the East -- two games off the third spot. The team will play its next three games at home before closing the regular season at Cleveland.
Orlando opened a three-game homestand with Saturday's 100-92 win over Minnesota, as Arron Afflalo posted 18 points, Tobias Harris and Moe Harkless both had 17 and Victor Oladipo ended with 16 in the win.
The Magic made 54.4 percent from the field and 9-of-17 3-pointers to stop a three-game losing streak and even their mark in the past six games.
"We played together," said Harris. "When we focus on the defensive end, good things happen for us."
Orlando is 18-20 at Amway Center and will close the homestand Friday versus Washington. Magic center Nikola Vucevic hasn't played since April 2 because of an Achilles issue and he questionable Wednesday. Vucevic is averaging 14.2 points and 11.0 rebounds this season.
The 2013-14 season series between the Magic and Nets is even at a game apiece with each team prevailing as the home team. Brooklyn has won five of the last six matchups between the teams, but is just 2-9 in the past 11 at Orlando.
04/09 10:24:25 ET