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Nuggets survive shootout with Magic, leave Orlando with much-needed victory

T.J. McBride Avatar
December 11, 2016

 

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The Nuggets entered the Amway Center desperate for a win against the struggling Orlando Magic but found themselves in a shootout. Ultimately, the Nuggets emerged victorious behind a balanced scoring effort and just enough defense to keep the Magic at bay and leave Florida with a 121-113 win.

The first half between the Nuggets and Magic was highlighted by the Nuggets doing what Michael Malone has been begging his team to do; out-work their opponents. The Nuggets out-rebounded the Magic 25-16, outscored the Magic 36-20 in the paint, and had 13 second-chance points to the Magic’s two.

Kenneth Faried was the biggest contributor to the energetic play of the Nuggets tonight. After finding himself out of the rotation against the Washington Wizards just two nights ago, it was Faried that was flying around tonight and ended up finishing with a double-double; 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Overall, it was one of the most energetic and active first halves for the Nuggets all season. The Nuggets took a 65-58 point lead into halftime behind 12 first half points from all three of Gallinari, Faried, and rookie Juancho Hernangomez. Hernangomez finished with a career-high 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists, and happened to hit four three-point shots in the first half alone.

The Nuggets started the third quarter without the same defensive intensity they had in the first half and the Magic lead by three points at the end of the period. Denver stopped taking care of the ball, giving away four turnovers in the quarter resulting in eight Orlando points and began settling on the offensive end which immediately sucked the urgency out of the defense.

The Magic are only scoring 94 points per game, good for second-worst in basketball, and led 95-92 after just three quarters. Gallinari kept the Nuggets afloat throughout the third quarter and finished with 21 points, six rebounds, and three assists.

The Nuggets could not stop anything the Magic wanted to do offensively but managed to keep the game close thanks to Jameer Nelson‘s nine points, three assists and the undying hustle of Hernangomez. Jokic started the fourth quarter at center and continued doing a little bit of everything at an extremely efficient clip.

Jokic finished with 14 points, six rebounds, and six assists to go with two blocks and a steal and continued looking substantially more comfortable on the floor with every passing minute. His passing and high basketball IQ were huge factors as the Nuggets held off the Magic who rallied in the fourth behind Jeff Green.

The Nuggets leave Orlando with a victory and improve to 9-15 on the season while the Magic drop to 10-15.

FOOTNOTES

Wilson Chandler was ruled out prior to tip off due to soreness in his right hip. This is the same surgically repaired hip that kept him sidelined for the entirety of the 2015-16 season.

Emmanuel Mudiay returned from his ankle injury that only kept him sidelined for a single game and started at point guard. However, he was largely ineffective scoring just four points on 2-6 shooting to go with three rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes.

WHERE/WHEN

Amway Center, Orlando, Florida | December 10, 2016

NUGGETS STAR OF THE GAME

Gallinari had a bounce back performance and looked like his hyper-efficient self, scoring 21 points on eight shots and went 9-10 from the free-throw line. He also had six rebounds and three assists.

BY THE NUMBERS

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PLAYS OF THE GAME

Nurkic gets the first points of the game with a put-back layup.

Faried hits a hook shot on his first possession.

Mudiay with the strong finish.

Hernangomez hits the three-pointer.

Mudiay with one of his strongest finishes at the rim of the season.

Faried with the vicious put-back slam.

Great Nuggets ball movement leads to a Nurkic dunk off of a Barton feed.

Nelson with the pretty floater.

Jokic with the bank-shot.

Hernangomez with a fantastic layup to beat the shot clock and to tie the game.

Gallinari hits the first three to take the lead and Jokic has a beautiful no-look pass for an Arthur three to put the Nuggets up late in the 4th quarter.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Nuggets look to finish out their season-long six-game road trip on a positive note by notching a win against the struggling Mavericks in Dallas on Monday.

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