Denver Nuggets Host Orlando Magic at Pepsi Center


The Denver Nuggets return home riding on a two-game win streak to host the surprising Orlando Magic on Tuesday evening at the Pepsi Center.

After snapping a season-long 8-game losing streak last week at Toronto, the Denver Nuggets grinded out a gutsy win on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. Over their two game winning streak, Head Coach Mike Malone has shaken up the starting lineup, inserting Darrell Arthur in place of usual starting power forward Kenneth Faried, and 24-year-old French center Joffrey Lauvergne in place of Jusuf Nurkic.

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While the Denver Nuggets victory over the Sixers was not glamorous by any means, it showed that the team does have the tenacity and resolve to overcame late deficits on the road, and demonstrates that perhaps the season is not yet lost. In order to keep their winning streak intact though, the Denver Nuggets will have to contend with a surprisingly dangerous Orlando Magic team that is one of the hottest clubs in the NBA right now.

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With an 11-9 record coming into Tuesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, the Orlando Magic are only .5 games out of a playoff spot in the suddenly top heavy Eastern Conference. The Denver Nuggets will have to limit the Orlando Magic’s ability to rebound the ball, as they enter the game as the fifth best rebounding team in the league at 46.5 boards per game. Their offense is also ranked in the top half of the NBA at 12th, averaging 101.6 points per contest.

Evan Fournier leads the Magic in scoring at 16.2 points per game, and is shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc. The Denver Nuggets have to limit his efficacy from beyond the perimeter. Orlando’s frontcourt is anchored by a borderline All-Star center in Nikola Vucevic, who is averaging nearly a double-double every game with 15.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest.

Over the last six games, former Indian University standout Victor Oladipo has come off of the bench for the Orlando Magic, and has thrived as the team’s new sixth man. In a reserve role, Oladipo is averaging 18.5 points per game in a little under 28 minutes of court time. Rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will also have to defend another young and dynamic guard in Elfrid Payton. Payton leads the magic in assists with 6.5 dimes per contest and is averaging 13.4 points. 

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Overall, the Denver Nuggets will have to contend with an incredibly balanced squad from their backcourt to frontcourt. Defensively, the Magic possess a middling defensive presence that the Nuggets can exploit. The Magic have the seventh best defense against three point shots, but are near the bottom of the league when it comes to allowing free throw attempts. If the Denver Nuggets can establish their offense in the low post and get to the paint, there is a good chance that the Magic will foul and give the Nuggets a chance to get points back at the charity stripe.

If the Denver Nuggets can play well at home on Tuesday, a victory over a good Orlando Magic team will signify a turning point in the season for Mike Malone’s club; and becomes one of the Nuggets signature victories this season. The Denver Nuggets do have a lackluster record at home thus far this season at 3-6, but after some tinkering to the starting lineup, and two big road victories to put make their recent 8-game losing streak a distant memory, there is a good chance that the Denver Nuggets can take advantage of the Orlando Magic’s road woes as they enter the game at only 3-6 away from the Amway Center.

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Last season, the Nuggets swept the season series with the Magic. Let’s hope that trend continues. The Denver Nuggets and the Orlando Magic tip-off at 7:00 PM.