Nets-Magic Preview

The Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets might have gotten the early boost of confidence they needed by knocking off the two-time defending NBA champions. A matchup with the Orlando Magic could help the Nets start to build some momentum.

Brooklyn looks to extend its dominance over Orlando when it visits the Magic on Sunday night.

Despite the additions of former Boston stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the starting lineup, the Nets fell 98-94 at Cleveland in their season opener Wednesday.

The sting of that loss, however, was quickly erased.

Brooklyn (1-1) held on for a 101-100 win over visiting Miami on Friday, nearly blowing a 10-point lead in the final two minutes before Pierce and Joe Johnson each hit a pair of late free throws.

Those two players tied for the team lead with 19 points with Brook Lopez the only other Brooklyn player in double figures at 13. The Nets, however, showcased some depth, with seven players scoring at least eight points.

"It was good that we got a taste of this type of atmosphere this early in the season to try to see where we're at," Pierce said. "Miami, whenever they come into town, they're a measuring stick for everybody, so it was good for us to come out and get the win."

Brooklyn almost certainly won't face as stiff of a challenge in its trip to Orlando (1-2). The Nets will try to earn a fifth straight win over the Magic before returning home to face Utah on Tuesday.

The Magic will try to spoil the visit by improving to 2-0 on its four-game homestand. Orlando opened that stretch with a 110-90 rout of New Orleans on Friday.

Arron Afflalo led the way with 30 points and shot 10 of 14 after scoring 28 in a 120-115 overtime loss to Minnesota on Wednesday. Maurice Harkless added 20 points as Orlando outshot the Pelicans 55.7 percent to 34.8.

''When we're able to dictate what we want the opponents to do we're in good shape and we were able to do that," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "Our focus on our game plan was there right from the start. To keep them under 40 percent all night, we'll take that. It will give us a chance."

Defense wasn't the Magic's biggest issue in last season's four-game sweep at the hands of the Nets. Orlando averaged 76.3 points, its lowest against any opponent in 2012-13, and made 19.4 percent from 3-point range (12 of 62).

Brooklyn averaged 96.0 points and made 41.7 percent of its 3-pointers against the Magic in 2012-13.