In a battle between two teams fighting for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Orlando Magic stunned the Brooklyn Nets on their home floor with a massive second-half comeback.
The prize for earning the No. 7 seed is hope. By avoiding the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, you buy yourself a much better chance of pulling off a potential first round upset over more attainable opponents like the Toronto Raptors or Boston Celtics.
The Nets held a 2.5-game lead over the Magic heading into this meeting, giving themselves a chance to further that gap in hopes to stand pat in that seventh seed. They failed to do so on their home floor, and the projections now favour Orlando to eventually take over that spot.
Take a look below:
Gordon comes up clutch to complete comeback
Brooklyn led by as much as 19 points in the second half, but let Orlando continuously chip away at the deficit before a back-and-forth scoring battle broke out in the fourth quarter.
There were 11 (!) lead changes in the game's final frame.
A 3-point contest broke out between Nets' Caris LeVert and Magic's Terrence Ross, but it was Aaron Gordon who stole the show, completely taking over the game to help Orlando complete the comeback.
Ross buried three 3s in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points on a perfect 3-for-3 clip from beyond the arc, but Gordon came up clutch when it mattered most. He buried a pull-up jumper to give the Magic a lead with a minute and a half remaining, then knocked down a massive 3 that put his team in the driver's seat to try and close out the win.
𝘼 🔥 𝙂 🔥 𝟑 🔥@Double0AG | #MagicAboveAll pic.twitter.com/sdR4xQFLJH- Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) February 25, 2020
When Brooklyn got it back within one possession and had a chance to tie the game, it was Gordon that swatted away the game-tying shot attempt, corralling his own block to seal the victory.
A A R 🚫 N- Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) February 25, 2020
G 🚫 R D 🚫 N pic.twitter.com/ysn379w7TQ
Gordon would finish with 27 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and steal, going a perfect 5-for-5 from the field in the fourth quarter.
What this means for the East playoff picture moving forward
The win puts the Magic within 1.5 games of the No. 7 seed with just 25 games remaining in the season.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Orlando is now projected to finish three games ahead of Brooklyn, which would pose a familiar first round matchup with the Raptors - the same team they saw in the first round of the NBA Playoffs last season.
According to Tankathon, the Magic have the fourth-easiest remaining schedule in the NBA while the Nets sit right in the middle at 15th-hardest.
These two teams will face off two more times this season, with the Magic only needing one more win to own the tiebreaker.
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