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Preview: Orlando At Brooklyn

When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, January 8, 2016
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

The stumbling Orlando Magic will attempt to revive their dormant offense when they visit Brooklyn on Friday. One of the surprise teams in the crowded Eastern Conference race with their 19-13 start, the Magic have suddenly dropped four in a row – albeit against some quality opponents – while averaging 86.3 points.

They were right on that mark in a 95-86 home loss to Indiana on Wednesday, shooting a woeful 6-of-31 from 3-point range. Elfrid Payton’s ankle injury has been one of the primary issues, as the second-year guard has missed the last two games after playing sparingly in the previous three, including a five-minute effort in a 100-93 win over the Nets on Dec. 30. Brooklyn has dropped the first two games of a three-game homestand and registered its worst offensive showing of the season in a 91-74 loss to Toronto on Wednesday. That was the eighth consecutive home loss for the Nets, whose last win at the Barclays Center came against lowly Philadelphia on Dec. 10.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Orlando), YES (Brooklyn)

ABOUT THE MAGIC (19-17): While one of the franchise building blocks is sidelined in the form of Payton, two others – forwards Tobias Harris and Evan Fournier – are slumping. Harris was held to single digits for the second time in three games on Wednesday and missed all six of his 3-point tries, while Fournier followed up 26 minutes of scoreless action at Detroit on Monday with 13 points against the Pacers, but he was just 1-of-6 from long range. The former first-round pick, who made 1-of-6 shots from the floor in his last visit to Brooklyn on Dec. 14, is shooting 28 percent overall in this last three games.

ABOUT THE NETS (10-25): Brooklyn did not boast much depth even before losing point guard Jarrett Jack to a torn ACL, and now that lack of support is even more striking. Seven reserves combined for 13 points on 5-of-19 shooting and had eight of the team’s 18 turnovers in the blowout loss to Toronto. Brook Lopez remained the steadying force in the middle with 24 points and 13 rebounds, his seventh double-double in a span of nine games.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Magic C Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and nine rebounds in last week’s win over the Nets.

2. Nets SG Bojan Bogdanovic has scored in double figures in four straight games, matching the longest stretch of his two-year career.

3. Orlando entered Thursday last in the NBA in free-throw attempts (18.3), while Brooklyn was 28th (19.6).

PREDICTION: Nets 99, Magic 98