Denver Nuggets Fall at Home to Magic, 85-74


The Denver Nuggets squandered a half-time lead, allowing the Orlando Magic to control the second half and leave Denver on Tuesday night with an 85-74 victory.

Will Barton led the Denver Nuggets in scoring on Tuesday night with 23 points off the bench, but was a mediocre 9-23 from the field and only 3-10 of beyond the arc. Barton also added 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. The only other Nugget that was even close to replicating Barton’s offensive output on Tuesday was Danilo Gallinari, who finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds.

-= Related: Denver Nuggets: Mike Malone Tinkering with Lineups =-

Head Coach Mike Malone continued to shake up his starting lineup, starting JJ Hickson. Hickson finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes of court time. Randy Foye also got the start at the 2 for the Nuggets, scoring only 5 points in 17 minutes, and recorded a team worst +/- of -18. 

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The Denver Nuggets held a 47-40 lead over the Orlando Magic at half-time, but were unable to contain the Magic in the second half of play. For Orlando, center Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 9-14 from the field. Magic point guard Elfrid Payton also had a good game at the Pepsi Center, posting 18 points, 5 boards and 4 assists on 8-15 shooting. Forward Tobias Harris also chipped in with 17 points and 9 rebounds for the Magic.

On Tuesday night, the Denver Nugget’s shooting woes killed any chance they had at winning the game, as they shot a paltry 33 percent from the field. The Magic did not shoot well themselves, but their 43 percent shooting from the field gave them a significant edge over the Denver Nuggets.

The Denver Nuggets also were out-rebounded by the Orlando Magic by a 54-47 margin. Like mentioned in the game preview yesterday, the Orlando Magic are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to fouling opponents and allowing free throws. This was evidenced on Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center as the Denver Nuggets had twice the amount of attempts as the Orlando Magic, but only made 11-20 free throw attempts — almost the margin of victory for the Magic! Despite poor shooting and underwhelming rebounding, the Denver Nuggets could have made this game a contest by making more of their free throws.

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When the players and coaches look back at the film of this game, it will show that the Denver Nuggets offense was clearly inefficient (evidenced by Will Barton’s astounding 23 field goal attempts) but that they also need to significantly improve their three-point percentage. Coming into Tuesday’s game against Orlando, the Denver Nuggets were on a two-game winning streak. Now, they go back to the drawing board in order figure out where they will get offense on night’s like these.

Mike Miller was a non-factor in 10 minutes off the bench with 0 points, while starting point guard Emmanuel Mudiay scored only 6 points in 22 minutes. Mudiay has struggled as of late, but he does have the potential to go off and provide offense on nights where it just doesn’t come naturally.

Still though, the Denver Nuggets stand only two games out of the eighth playoff seed in the Western Conference; and despite their 8-14 record, are a winning streak away from claiming said playoff spot. Yes the team has a lot of issues, but this year’s rendition of the Western Conference may make it possible for a team like the Denver Nuggets to continue to remain in the playoff race despite all of their flaws and faults.

Next: Denver Nuggets Host Orlando Magic at Pepsi Center

The Denver Nuggets host Andrew Wiggins, Kevin Garnett and Northwest Division rival the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at the Pepsi Center with tip-off set for 7:00 PM.