Magic Take Down West-Leading Nuggets With Another Strong Defensive Effort

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Wendell Carter Jr. posted 19 points, Cole Anthony filled up the stat sheet with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and Bol Bol also scored 17 points, as the Orlando Magic overcame a slow start to roll past the West-leading Denver Nuggets 115-104 on Thursday night at Amway Center.

Key Stretch

The Magic blew the game open with an 18-4 run to start the fourth quarter. Anthony and Bol combined to make seven of Orlando’s eight shots during that stretch, while Moe Wagner made the other.  The Magic led by as many as 19 in the final frame. They began the game down 12-0. 

Key Stats

Orlando’s bench outscored Denver’s reserves 56-10. The Magic scored 12 more points in the paint than the Nuggets, five more second-chance points, and 10 more points off turnovers. 

Quote of the Day

“I think we’re getting better and better every single game. Learning from every single game we play. I can speak for that second unit that we’ve got; I think we’re just starting to figure it out. It’s been shifted around a bunch. We've kind of had some dudes in and some dudes out, but I think we finally have gotten a steady stream of games together and I think we’re starting to figure it out. It’s a game of runs. Yeah, we took that first punch, and we threw like six back.” - Anthony

In the News

The Magic traded Mo Bamba at the deadline to the L.A. Lakers as part of a four-team deal. Orlando received Patrick Beverley, who is not required to report to the team, a 2024 second-round draft pick from the Nuggets, and cash considerations. Denver landed Thomas Bryant in the trade, the Clippers acquired Bones Hyland, and the Lakers, in addition to Bamba, received Davon Reed and two future second-round draft selections via the Clippers. 

Injury Report

Gary Harris (right abductor soreness) and Chuma Okeke (return to competition reconditioning) were out for the Magic. Jamal Murray (knee), Collin Gillespie (lower leg), and Zeke Nnaji (shoulder) were unavailable for the Nuggets. 

This Day in History

One of the most thrilling finishes in Magic history took place on a Feb. 9. In 2007, Dwight Howard slammed home a game-winning alley-oop dunk off the inbounds toss from Hedo Turkoglu in Orlando’s victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 31 points, while Howard finished with 30. Tim Duncan led the Spurs, who would go on to win their third of four titles that season, with 24 points and 16 rebounds. 

Rivals Report

The Nuggets, currently in the top spot in the West, are obviously title contenders. They have the best offense in the league. But, the big question is their defense. Currently, they rank 14th on that end. Let’s remember that very few teams, at least over the last 30-plus years, have won the championship without being top 10 in defense. Also now expected to make winning it all tougher is the fact that the Suns, Mavs, Clippers, and even Lakers all got better in the hours leading up to the trade deadline.  

Up Next

The Magic will wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday when the Miami Heat come to town for a 7 p.m. tipoff. This will be the second of four meetings this season between the Sunshine State rivals. The Heat won the first one on Jan. 27 in Miami behind 29 points from Jimmy Butler and 20 from Bam Adebayo. Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and Anthony each scored 19 points to lead the Magic.