US basketball

Magic defeat depleted Nets to end 7-game skid

Magic defeat depleted Nets to end 7-game skid

TOUGH STRETCH. Nets guard Patty Mills and Magic center Robin Lopez fight for a rebound during the fourth quarter.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Magic arrest a losing run against a Nets side missing 10 players, including superstar Kevin Durant, due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol

Chuma Okeke hit the tiebreaking three-pointer with 1:11 remaining in the fourth quarter and the visiting Orlando Magic halted a seven-game losing streak with a 100-93 victory over the significantly undermanned Brooklyn Nets in New York Saturday night, December 18 (Sunday, December 19, Manila time).

The Magic snapped their second seven-game skid of the season and won for the second time in 15 games after blowing a 17-point lead.

Okeke scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and snapped a 93-93 deadlock when his uncontested three-pointer in front of the Orlando bench cleanly went in. After Okeke’s clutch shot, Franz Wagner flipped in a layup and hit two free throws in the final 39.7 seconds.

Robin Lopez paced the Magic with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Gary Harris added 17 and Wagner chipped in 14 as Orlando earned its third win in New York this season following two earlier wins over the Knicks.

The Nets played with 10 players in the COVID-19 health and safety protocol. Starters LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, and James Harden along with reserves Bruce Brown, Jevon Carter, James Johnson, and Paul Millsap missed their third straight game and were joined by stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Durant was initially slated to miss the game with a sore right ankle and was placed in the protocol earlier Saturday. Irving landed there after the Nets announced the unvaccinated guard would be able to play in road games and about an hour before opening tip, rookie Day’Ron Sharpe was placed in the protocol.

Patty Mills scored a game-high 23 points for the Nets, who shot 38.2% and misfired on 37-of-46 three-point tries. David Duke Jr. added 18 and 14 boards while Blake Griffin matched a season high with 17.

Orlando was without Mo Bamba, RJ Hampton, Terrence Ross, and Moritz Wagner in the health and safety protocols. The Magic also were without Cole Anthony (sprained right ankle) and Wendell Carter Jr. (strained right leg).

After taking a 50-44 lead at halftime, Lopez’s hook shot made it 69-53 with 3:06 remaining and the Magic held a 74-66 lead into the fourth. Admiral Schofield’s three-pointer gave Orlando an 82-71 with 9:51 left and the Nets tied it at 93-93 apiece on a triple by Duke with 2:33 left. –