Recap: Denver Nuggets survive a surge from the Orlando Magic

NBA: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic started their game slow with the two sides going a combined 4-of-13 in the first four minutes of the first quarter. After starting slow, the Nuggets went on a bit of a run to get out to a 12-4 lead at the 6:00 minute mark. That run by Denver wasn’t stopping, and they were up 19-7 and were on a 14-3 run. Denver’s offense went on a slow stretch over the next couple of minutes, but the bench got things rolling with under two minutes remaining in the quarter to get the lead up to 27-12. Denver’s defense finished the quarter strong as they allowed just 14 points and forced 6 turnovers and lead by 15.

Denver’s second unit kept things rolling early in the second quarter. They picked up 11 quick points in the first 2:30 minutes of the quarter, and the Magic were forced to call another timeout down 40-18. Denver’s offense went cold, and the Magic clawed to within 15 which prompted Michael Malone to get Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon and Will Barton back into the game. Orlando got hot on the offensive end, and they were within 12 before the Nuggets got a couple of baskets to fall. The two sides were trading empty possessions with missed shots and turnovers, as they had 20 combined turnovers with 3:41 remaining in the first half. Denver’s lead was down to 12 with 2:56 remaining following the home team’s 11th turnover of the first half. Denver briefly got the lead back to 15 over the final couple of minutes before they went into the break leading 53-40, after leading by as many as 22.

The two sides were trading baskets early in the second half as the Magic were looking to claw their way back into the game and finally were back within single digits. Denver went on a small run over the next few minutes, and they had built the lead to 17 before the Magic got back on the board. Denver’s lead ballooned to 20 with 6:32 left in the quarter which prompted the Magic to call a timeout. Denver’s offense was struggling, and their defense wasn’t doing much to help them out as the Magic got back to within 15 over the next three minutes. Over the final minutes of the quarter, both sides were struggling on offense, and Brynn Forbes was able to maintain the 15-point lead with a miracle floater at the buzzer.

Denver started the fourth quarter hot with a couple of quick buckets, and they were leading by 21 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. After building that lead, the Magic started to make their comeback, and they were within 12 with 6:00 remaining in the game with Denver’s offense struggling to score. Denver led by 14 with just over three minutes remaining in the game before the Magic cut it to 10 over the next 30 seconds. Orlando had made it a nine-point game before a huge bucket by Gordon put the Nuggets up by 11 with 96 seconds remaining in the game. Denver and Orlando traded buckets before the Magic were able to cut it to an eight-point game with 52 seconds remaining. Thanks to some clutch free throws down the stretch, Denver was able to ice the game at home with a 121-111 win at home.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 26

Assists: Jokic – 7

Rebounds: Jokic – 15

Player of the Game: Brynn Forbes – 16 points, 2 assists, 5-of-7 field goal, 3-of-4 3-point, 3-of-3 free throw

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