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Nuggets Beat Magic, Win 7th Straight
The Denver Nuggets allowed a 12-point lead to slip away in the first quarter, but held on when it mattered most, finishing off the Orlando Magic 124-118 in overtime to earn their seventh-straight victory Wednesday Night.
Denver trailed by six when Orlando point guard D.J. Augustin knocked down a 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining in the third quarter. However, the Nuggets outscored the Magic 15-7, sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from Malik Beasley, to take a two-point lead into the fourth.
The Nuggets (17-7) led by five with less than two minutes to go in the fourth, but a triple from Magic guard Terrence Ross evened the count at 112 with 7.1 seconds to go in regulation and Denver point guard Jamal Murray could not connect on a midrange jumper at the buzzer, bringing the game to overtime.
Jamal Murray led the way offensively for the Nuggets.
The 6-4 Canadian put up 31 points on 10-25 shooting, his most prolific scoring outing since he exploded for 48 at home against the Celtics early last month. He also added eight assists and four rebounds in a season-high 46 minutes. He buried a 3-pointer with 1:48 to go in overtime to give the Nuggets a five-point lead that wound up being all the cushion they needed.
“Even in light of it not being a great performance, giving up 20 3s allowing them to force overtime, we didn’t drop our heads,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “I give our guys a lot of credit. They still went out their in the fourth quarter, in overtime rather, and won the game, which is not easy to do under those circumstances.”
Murray’s backup Monte Morris was solid as a rock per the usual, the 6-3 Iowa State product scored 13 points, knocking down 6 of 7 shots while dishing out three assists. Veteran Paul Millsap, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, did most of his damage in the first quarter, scoring nine of his 18 points in the first on his way to finishing with eight rebounds and two assists.
Center Nikola Jokić recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 assists while grabbing eight boards. Reserve power forward Mason Plumlee flirted with 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
“We got them in Denver, and any team in this league, if you get a win and you gotta come to they house, we knew what type of night and what type of energy they were going to bring,” Morris said referring to a 25-point win against the Magic on Nov. 23. “We just tried to chip away at it slowly. We lost the lead, but we stayed composed.”
Juancho Hernangómez (14) and Trey Lyles (12) also finished in double-figures in scoring for the Nuggets.
The Magic’s Evan Fournier stroked six 3-pointers on his way to 26-point performance before fouling out and being ejected after being whistled for his second technical with 2:00 left. Center Nikola Vucevic recorded a double-double with 24 Points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Aaron Gordon (19), Terrence Ross (17), Jonathan Isaac (11) and rookie Mo Bamba (11) had double-digit scoring nights too in a losing effort.
Orlando (12-12) knocked down 20 of 49 3-pointers (41.7 percent) while the Nuggets knocked down 11 of 19 attempts from deep. Denver was 23 of 37 from the free-line while Orlando managed just eight attempts, sinking them all.
The Nuggets will face the Charlotte Hornets on the road Friday night at 7 p.m. MT. That game will be broadcasted live on Altitude TV and streamed on AltitudeNOW.