One play from a shocking Sunday night at Amway Center will make the highlight reels.
Early in the fourth quarter, Victor Oladipo tapped the ball away from Deron Williams and scooped the ball off the floor. Oladipo dribbled down the court and jumped, spun 360 degrees and dunked.
But, for Orlando Magic coaches and executives, other images resonated — images that indicated a new-and-improved confidence from their players.
Nik Vucevic ignoring an earful of Kevin Garnett's trash talk. Maurice Harkless calmly squaring up in front of the Brooklyn Nets' bench and swishing a pair of 3-pointers. Andrew Nicholson fighting through a box-out by Brook Lopez and grabbing an offensive rebound.
The Magic trounced the Nets 107-86.
"You deserve the win," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn told his players afterward.
The Magic didn't allow the Nets to intimidate them.
Last season, the Nets pushed the Magic all over the court. Orlando lost all four of its matchups against Brooklyn — and lost by an average of 19.8 points.
"That was last year," Vucevic said. "It's a new year. We don't really want to think about what happened last year."
Vucevic scored 19 points, collected 12 rebounds and, best of all, didn't give Lopez many easy looks close to the hoop.
Oladipo scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.
The prized rookie also halted a Nets run in the third quarter. With Orlando ahead 61-52 but Brooklyn making a charge, Oladipo played a direct role in the Magic's next 10 points.
He made a running floater. He sank two free throws. He drove into the lane, spun and made a layup. He hit a pull-up jumper from 21 feet. And he drove into the lane and hurled a no-look pass to Vucevic, which Vucevic converted into a wide-open dunk.
After Nicholson hit a short hook early in the fourth quarter, Oladipo scored six consecutive points: a driving reverse layup, a pull-up jumper from 18 feet and then his 360-degree dunk.
The dunk catapulted the announced crowd of 15,297 out of their seats and onto their feet.
If Oladipo felt intimidated by facing Garnett, Paul Pierce and Williams, it didn't show.
"You just go out there and play basketball," Oladipo said. "I'm competitive just like they are. I want to win it just as bad as they do. Eventually, I want to be a potential Hall of Famer just like them."
The victory by the Magic (2-2) spoiled the regular-season coaching debut of Jason Kidd, who had missed Brooklyn's first two games because he was serving a league suspension for drunken driving.
"I think they played with more energy," Lopez said. "They outplayed us. They got to the 50-50 balls. We are definitely better than this team, but we didn't show it tonight."
The Nets (1-2) made just 38 percent of their shots.
Jason Maxiell helped set a tone midway through the opening period when he blocked a dunk attempt by Andray Blatche.
Lopez, the Nets' skilled 7-foot center, scored 10 of his 21 points before halftime. But three of his first-half baskets came on jumpers of 19, 19 and 22 feet. Although Lopez had a few open looks at the hoop, Magic coaches wanted him and the rest of the Nets to take long-range shots instead of gimmes from close range.
"That was our game plan," Magic swingman Arron Afflalo said.
Afflalo scored 16 points and had a career-high eight assists.
Nicholson added 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
"Tonight was just a great all-out effort from beginning to end," Vaughn said. "Brooklyn roughed us up last year on many occasions, even in our building. So, a great response by our group tonight."
firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun