Nets capable of beating the dregs of the NBA

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Nets front court took advantage of a home-and-home with the Orlando Magic — but don’t let the two wins convince you this team’s big men are ready for the big time.

Brooklyn’s inside players had their way with the Magic, as Brook Lopez racked up his first double-double of the season and key reserve Andray Blatche posted a team high of 15 points coming off the bench on Friday.

And in Sunday’s action, Kris Humphries saw his first significant minutes of the year, tallying 14 points and 21 boards.

On the surface, the victories appear to show the emergence of Brooklyn’s defense: the Nets held an opponent below 100 points for the first time this season on Friday, and repeated the feat against the same squad on Sunday.

That’s good news, but the Nets front court had very little offensive firepower to contain, as the Magic — the league’s lowest scoring team — took the court without star forward Al Harrington. Having only Glen “Big Baby” Davis to defend on the interior made things markedly easier for Brooklyn over the weekend.

Remember, the Nets are a team that allowed the Raptors and the Timberwolves — playing without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio — to reach triple digits.

The victories are a sign the Nets can handle the dregs of the NBA. But until their defense shows up against a team that isn’t near the bottom of the standings, that’s about as far as they’ll get.

Tom Lafe is a 6-foot-5 sports world insider with a middling high school basketball career who believes the Nets will be driven by the success of the team’s big men.

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