Denver Nuggets defeat Orlando Magic 120-112
For the second consecutive game, the Orlando Magic blew a big first half lead to a team that is destined to join them in the NBA Draft Lottery.
And for the second straight game, the Magic could not fight their way all the way back, falling to the Denver Nuggets, 120-112.
Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 24 points while Nikola Vucevic had 20 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.
The Magic built a 13-point lead midway through the second quarter, but the Nuggets ended the first half on a 25-10 run, easily getting open look after open look to take a 52-50 lead at the half.
After quickly falling behind in the third quarter, the Magic quickly tied the game with an 11-5 run in which Afflalo and Jameer Nelson scored all 11 points. The Nuggets again dominated the end of the quarter, entering the fourth on a 19-8 run.
It looked like the Nuggets were going to cruise in the final quarter, holding a 12-point lead with just 3:38 to go. The Magic responded with a 7-0 run on two Oladipo free throws and a layup and three-pointer by Nelson. The Nuggers, however, answered with a three-pointer by Aaron Brooks, a block by J.J. Hickson and two free throws by Lawson. An Afflalo three-pointer, steal and two free throws got the Magic back within five. The Magic forced another stop on the other end, but Kyle O’Quinn was called for traveling and Brooks made a layup, essentially ending the game.
To get back in the game and eventually take the lead, the Nuggets took over in the paint, scoring 54 points down low.
Kenneth Faried led the charge with 26 points and nine rebounds and J.J. Hickson came off of the bench to score 20 points and pull down nine boards.
- It was good to see Afflalo find his groove for the first time since his injury. He shot 10-of-18 from the floor.
- Nelson had one of his better nights as far as efficiency goes, scoring 19 points on 12 shots.
- Victor Oladipo again struggled shooting the ball, going just five-of-12 from the field, but managed to finish with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists.
- Lawson was a fantastic playmaker for the Nuggets and seemed to make the right play almost every trip down the court. He finished with 17 points and 12 assists.
- Lawson’s backup, Aaron Brooks had nine points and seven assists and made very timely plays down the stretch.