George Karl couldn't have possibly praised the Magic more in the pregame interviews on Wednesday evening. Proclaiming that Denver would've drafted Andrew Nicholson had Orlando passed up on him, and that he wanted the Nuggets to go after Nik Vucevic in the Dwight-Bynum-Iggy deal. He sounded like a coach trying to cover his ass should his team lose a badly slumping opponent. Well Denver would require a comeback, but Orlando coughed up yet another game they should've won. Nuggets prevailed 108-105 as Orlando owns a 12-23 record and the skid lengthens to 10 games.
Vucevic fouled out with another double-double at the 1:41 mark, and the Magic's rebounding fell by the wayside. Kenneth Faried is remarkable as his 19 points and 19 rebounds proved. McRoberts once again came up empty in crunch time, and Affalo's reunion in Denver was beyond a nightmare. Defensive and offensive ineptitude galore as Arron was an abomination to watch. Rookie DeQuan Jones tallied a career-high 11 points and physics man Nicholson posted an efficient 12 points. Redick had 17 points off the pine. Jameer finished with 20 points and 8 assists.
Andre Miller will always be near the top of the Magic killer list and would be a Hall of Famer if he only ever faced Orlando. 10 points in the fourth quarter is indicative of this pest of a point guard. If you didn't recall from the first game of the season, Denver loves to run until legs begin to fall off. After giving up 10 fastbreak points to Denver in the opening minutes, Orlando settled down and unleashed their youth to deal with the high altitude. Orlando took a surprising 30-22 lead at the conclusion of the period thanks to great contributions 10 men. 60 FG% was a result of fantastic unselfishness. Only Hedo didn't step foot on the Pepsi Center court for Jacque Vaughn during that quarter.
Corey Brewer's career-high is 27 points. That's relevant because Brewer came off Denver's bench and poured in fourteen in his initial 10 minutes of work. After suffering a 12-2 Denver run, Orlando reignited behind energetic plays like DeQuan Jones' thunder dunk. Jones played fabulous defense and notched 7 points at the break. Jameer would get furious at Kenneth Faried and pick up a technical foul. That sparked Nelson to embarrass Faried as the co-captain mounted 10 second quarter points. Orlando sat in their locker room up 55-53. Denver only managed to make one jumper. 18 fastbreak points and 42 points in the paint in twenty-four minutes will cover your perimeter woes.
A 12-2 Orlando run towards the tail end of the 3rd period assisted the Magic in obtaining a 77-70 advantage entering the final period. Orlando didn't look intimidated or fatigue in the thin atmosphere. Midway through the 4th, Orlando was ahead 94-87. Then like we've seen plenty of times during this losing streak, Coach Vaughn's side committed careless turnovers and other mistakes that developed into an 8-0 Nuggets run. Wilting under physical defensive pressure. However, Jameer's 10 fourth period points provided salvation until once more Orlando succumbed to their own unnecessary failings. The Magic play the best team in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon...the Clippers.