Nets-Magic Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 08, 2012
The front offices of the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets conversed plenty during the Dwight Howard saga that lasted into August, though a trade agreement never was reached. Each new-look squad is still finding its footing without him, but Orlando hopes the recent on-court history between the clubs remains in its favor. The Magic seek their 11th straight victory over the Nets as both teams look to avoid a three-game losing streak Friday night at the Amway Center. Numerous trades reportedly were proposed between Orlando and Brooklyn, which hoped to land Howard with a package centering around Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries and multiple draft picks. But Brooklyn turned its attention to acquiring Joe Johnson from Atlanta while re-signing Lopez, Humphries, Gerald Wallace and Deron Williams in July, and the Magic wound up dealing Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a four-team trade with Philadelphia and Denver. The Magic (2-2) won their first two games under new coach Jacque Vaughn, but fell 99-93 at Chicago on Tuesday before a 90-75 loss at Minnesota the next night. Orlando shot a dismal 35.0 percent Wednesday, with J.J. Redick leading the team with 16 points off the bench. Arron Afflalo, who came over from Denver in the Howard deal, scored 12 points after netting 22 and 28, respectively, in the previous two games. "I wish the rim would've opened up and that ball would've slid through it,'' Vaughn said. "That always helps. "Our guys really put a lot of effort out in Chicago, and to be asked to do it again the next night is pretty tough. This is a team and we're going to need 1-15 this year." Brooklyn (1-2) didn't do any better its last time out, falling 103-73 at Miami for its second consecutive loss after winning its opener. The Nets shot only 37.5 percent while going 3 for 21 from 3-point range. "It was just an off-night because we had a lot of open looks,'' said Johnson, who finished 4 for 14 with nine points. "I know I did and I missed a few myself. Other than that it was just shots that we normally make that we didn't make.'' Williams scored a team-high 14, but he committed seven turnovers - his most since also finishing with seven in a loss to Orlando on Feb. 22. "We feel like this team shouldn't be losing by 30 to anybody, but it's a work in progress," Williams said. "We can all play better. I can definitely play better, take care of the ball better. We can all play better defensively, and we all know that. "It's still early in the season. It's not time to start panicking. We told people it's going to take some time for us to come together, and it's looking that way still." No matter who has been in uniform for either team, the Magic have dominated the Nets in recent seasons. Brooklyn hasn't scored more than 91 points during its 10-game losing streak in the series, and it hasn't won in Orlando since a 96-95 victory Jan. 2, 2008. Williams, Lopez and Wallace missed the most recent meeting March 16, when Jameer Nelson's 13 points helped Orlando to an 86-70 win. Nelson, though, is questionable Friday after missing the last three games with groin and hamstring issues.
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