Brooklyn Nets vs. Orlando Magic Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 2nd 2023

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At the top of the Eastern Conference standings are the expected teams — Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.

Also in the upper echelon are the Orlando Magic, who are building on their improvement from the second half of last season as they enjoy one of the best stretches in team history.

Orlando can set a team record with its 10th straight victory Saturday when it visits the Brooklyn Nets and the site of its last defeat.

After finishing with 34 wins last season despite starting 5-20, Orlando is on the fourth nine-game winning streak in team history and the first since the 2010-2011 season. The Magic also won nine straight in 1994 and 2001.

“It’s big time for this group, but more importantly I think it’s big time for the fans and the organization,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said. “There’s an energy, there’s a vibe, a buzz about this group, and our guys are doing a good job of embracing it.”

Since a 124-104 loss in Brooklyn in an in-season tournament game on Nov. 14, the Magic are averaging 121 points per game and have scored at least 120 in six of their past seven games since starting this run with consecutive low-scoring games at Chicago.

Orlando’s latest victory was a 130-125 triumph over Washington on Friday that marked the third straight time the Magic scored at least 130 points. Orlando also shot 51.7 percent, marking the sixth straight time it shot at least 50 percent.

Franz Wagner highlighted Orlando’s latest productive night by scoring 31 and is the team’s first player with three straight games of at least 30 points since Dwight Howard did it in 2011. Paolo Banchero added 28 points despite tweaking his ankle Wednesday, when his run of five straight games with at least 20 points ended.

“It’s pretty special,” Banchero said. “Eventually I think a loss is going to come but we just want to keep it rolling for as long as we can. But you’re not surprised when you do something like this because we’ve got great chemistry and we play really well together.”

The Nets are 3-4 since the first meeting with Orlando and seek to go one game over .500 for the fourth time this season.

Brooklyn is looking to rebound after allowing a season-worst 21 3-pointers in its 129-128 loss to the visiting Charlotte Hornets on Thursday that snapped the Nets’ three-game win streak.

Cam Thomas scored 26 points after missing eight games with an ankle sprain but did not play for the final 5 1/2 minutes. Mikal Bridges added 22 points while Nic Claxton finished with 20 but the Nets allowed 50.5 percent shooting, marking the second time this season they allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent.

“We did not have the standard that we have, especially in that first half,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “That set the tone. You give a team confidence, and they’re playing free and able to make shots.”

The Nets were without Royce O’Neale due to a bruised hip after he hit six 3s apiece in the previous two wins. O’Neale did not appear on the team’s injury report and is expected to play but Lonnie Walker IV is not expected to play due to a strained left hamstring.

–Field Level Media

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