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Nikola Jokic, Nuggets prove too much for Magic

Sportsnaut
Feb 14, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) controls the ball as Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) guards in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 14, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) controls the ball as Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) guards in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic scored 26 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out seven assists to lead the host Denver Nuggets to a 121-111 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday.

Jeff Green and Will Barton added 17 points apiece for the Nuggets, who won for the fourth time in five games. Bryn Forbes scored 16 points, Bones Hyland finished with 14 and Aaron Gordon had 10 points.

Franz Wagner scored 26 points to pace the Magic, who fell for the third game in a row and the fifth time in six contests. Wendell Carter Jr. had 25 points and 12 rebounds, Jalen Suggs scored 16 points and Gary Harris finished with 15.

The Nuggets led by 15 after the first quarter and started the second period on am 11-4 run to go on top 40-18, the largest margin of the game, but Orlando chipped away.

Wagner hit a pair of 3-pointers and another basket during a 12-2 spurt that got the deficit down to 42-30. Denver responded with six straight points to go ahead by 18, but the Magic came back again to make it 48-38 with 2:28 left in the second quarter.

The Nuggets closed the half with a 53-40 lead.

Orlando opened the second half with a 9-5 run to get the deficit under double digits with 9:45 left in the third quarter, but that woke up Denver.

Jokic hit a technical free throw, Hyland drained a 3-pointer and then split a pair of free throws to quickly get the advantage to 63-49. After Mo Bamba dunked for the Magic, the Nuggets went on a run to take a 73-53 lead midway through the period.

Orlando made another surge, cutting Denver’s lead to 83-70 on a steal and dunk by Harris with 20 seconds left in the third. Forbes responded by hitting a floater in the lane at the buzzer to give the Nuggets an 85-70 lead heading into the fourth.

DeMarcus Cousins opened the final quarter with a dunk and soon added two free throws, but the Magic got back within 14 on a 3-pointer from Chuma Okeke. Denver responded with another run, capped with three free throws from Forbes to make it 99-79.

The Magic pulled within 102-92 with 5:32 left and eventually got within eight in the final minutes before the Nuggets closed it out.

–Field Level Media