The Nets are 7-1 since the new year while the Magic are 1-9, but that does not mean the Magic will just lay down for the hottest team in the NBA. Coming off a win against the Boston Celtics a few nights ago coupled with the Nets playing an emotional game the night before against the New York Knicks, the Magic have to like their chances.
The return of Deron Williams will help the Nets in the long run, but tonight will test his ankle and the team’s old legs as they face their first back-to-back since losing to the Toronto Raptors 10 days ago. The Nets have to be travel weary but have shown no signs of fatigue as they have played their last three games in three different countries. The Brooklyn faithful, myself included, will have the Barclays jumping as the Nets play their first home game since that dramatic double-overtime game against the Miami Heat 11 days ago.
The Magic are another team that relies on small-ball, but they are lacking in true talent to mirror the success of the Nets. The players the Nets’ defense will have to focus on are Aaron Affalo and Tobias Harris. This is a young team with a few veterans sprinkled around the roster for guidance because they can’t really bring much else to the table. There was a time when Jameer Nelson was being mentioned as one of the best point guards in the NBA, but now he is mentioned in every trade scenario possible. Glen Davis will have to go against his old teammate and mentor, Kevin Garnett while Paul Pierce will have his hands full trying to guard the ultra-quick Harris on the blocks.
The second game of a back-to-back is always tough, but I think the Nets are still well rested and will find a way to improve their record to 8-1 since 2014.