The Brooklyn Nets (41-40) and Orlando Magic (41-40) were both able to secure big wins on Sunday, locking up a spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Brooklyn Nets punched their playoff ticket with a road win over the Indiana Pacers. D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 20 points and six assists. Russell has had his best season of his young career, averaging 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per contest. Considering Russell was able to lead the Nets to the playoffs with these stats, the point guard has been tipped as the favorite to win the Most Improved Player award this season.
As for Orlando, the Magic were able to get the best of the Celtics, beating Boston 116-108. Nikola Vucevic had a huge away game for Orlando, scoring 25 points and collecting 12 rebounds.
The Orlando Magic have been one of the best stories in the NBA this season. At one point, the Magic were as much as 6.5 games back from a playoff spot. Nonetheless, Orlando has fought back impressively, winning 10 of their last 12 games, willing themselves into the postseason.
Sunday’s hero, Nikola Vucevic is no stranger to big stat lines like the one he had against Boston. Vucevic has been a monster for the magic all season, averaging 20.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game this year. Vucevic has scored 25+ in each of his last three games, and has been reliable, starting 80 of 81 games for Orlando this season. Watch for Vucevic in the postseason, as he is bound to have a major impact on every one of the Magic’s playoff games.
The Magic will be matched up against the Raptors or the 76ers in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, making for a tough matchup either way.