ORLANDO -Call it the Miami hangover.
For the second time this season the Brooklyn Nets followed up a thrilling victory over the Miami Heat with loss to the hapless Magic in Orlando.
The Nets, who played without Paul Pierce (hip), Shaun Livingston (toe) and Andray Blatche (illness) had won three straight and 6-of-7 before losing 115-111 in Amway Center.
Had this been a playoff game, it’s likely all three would have played. But with the probability that the Nets (43-35) will get the No.5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, coach Jason Kidd stayed true to his philosophy of having his players rested and healthy for the playoffs.
Kevin Garnett, who did not play in the team’s sensational 88-87 win over the Heat Tuesday night, played 16 minutes and 32 seconds. It was his second game back after missing 19 games with back spasms. Kidd slightly increased his minutes from the 13 minutes and 12 seconds he played in Philadelphia Saturday night.
That Nets win over the Heat, their fourth straight this season, ended with rookie Mason Plumlee stuffing superstar LeBron James’ dunk attempt with two seconds left.
Plumlee said that in the time it took him to get from the American Airlines Arena court to the visitor’s locker room he had 90 text messages on his phone. Plumlee scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting before fouling out.
The Nets edged the Heat 101-100 in their home opener in Barclays Center on Nov. 1st. Two nights later the Magic blasted them, 107-86, in Orlando.
Joe Johnson almost saved the Nets with a 31-point effort on 11-of-18 shooting. His late 3 was blocked by the Magic’s 6-10 forward Kyle O’Quinn, who switched out on a pick.