Magic beat Nets 128-118 in restart opener, move up to seventh

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA (AP) — Evan Fournier scored 24 points, Nikola Vucevic had 22 and the Orlando Magic picked up where they left off before the NBA season was suspended, routing the Brooklyn Nets 128-118 on Friday night in their first game of the restart.

Playing as the designated road team not far from their arena, the Magic looked right at home at Disney — whose name they wear as their jersey patch. They extended their winning streak to four and moved back ahead of the Nets into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

The Magic outscored the Nets 75-43 in the middle two quarters, allowing them to overcome some shaky defence at the start and finish.

“We’ve proven that we can play well at both ends of the floor. It’s been a struggle for us to put both together and in the second and third quarter tonight that’s what we did,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.

Players and coaches from both teams knelt during the national anthem except for Orlando’s Jonathan Isaac, who also was the only player not wearing a Black Lives Matter warmup shirt. Isaac, who was playing his first game since a left knee injury on January 1, stood with his arms behind his back while wearing his regular jersey.

Clifford said Isaac discussed his decision with the Magic and was supported by his teammates.

Brooklyn also won its last three before the stoppage, but the decimated team that returned is a shell of the one that beat the Lakers in Los Angeles in its final game.

The Nets are missing Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince after they tested positive for the coronavirus. They are already playing without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

So Brooklyn started two players who hadn’t started an NBA game this season. The Nets looked good at the beginning, shooting nearly 70 per cent in the first quarter, but the Magic blew by them in winning for the third time in three meetings this season.

Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic heads to the basket as Brooklyn Nets’ Jarrett Allen defends. PHOTO: AP