The Orlando Magic headed into this season knowing there likely would be more rough nights than positive ones.
But even the most dire preseason predictions were optimistic compared to this.
With their defense continuing to flounder, the Magic fell to the Brooklyn Nets 97-77 Monday night at Barclays Center and lost for the 17th time in their last 19 games.
"I think if you want something to change, you've got to make a change," power forward Glen Davis said. "And we have to make a change. We can't pray that a team doesn't make shots. We have to make them miss shots."
The Nets made half of their shots, with point guard Deron Williams swishing wide-open 3-pointers, center Brook Lopez making wide-open dunks and layups, and former Magic wing Keith Bogans igniting a fourth-quarter run that put the game out of reach.
Sure, there were extenuating circumstances. The Magic played on the second night of a difficult back-to-back, and they played without their leading scorer, wing Arron Afflalo, who sat out because of a strained calf muscle.
But it all comes back to a single problem area: the defense, which performed so well during the first 25 games of the season but has cratered since Davis dislocated his left shoulder on Dec. 19. Even Davis' return on Jan. 14 hasn't stemmed the tide.
"We've shown glimpses recently in the last few games of what it was the first 25 games," said wing J.J. Redick. "Twenty-five games is a pretty large sample size to have a top-five or top-six defense. So we've done it. It's just a matter of being consistent and having the focus to do it every night."
Orlando Magic lose again, falling to the Brooklyn Nets 97-77
Orlando Sentinel | Jan 29