Vucevic leads Magic to 85-74 win over Nuggets
DENVER (AP) Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 13 rebounds, Evan Fournier hit a big 3-pointer late and the Orlando Magic beat the Denver Nuggets 85-74 on Tuesday night.
Elfrid Payton finished with 18 points as the Magic snapped a five-game skid against the Nuggets.
With the Magic up by two with 2:38 remaining, Fournier knocked down a 3-pointer to give them some breathing room. Orlando has made a 3-pointer in 677 straight games dating to 2007, a streak that was in jeopardy until Fournier's shot. The team finished 1 for 16 from 3-point range.
Reserve Will Barton scored 23 points for the Nuggets, who fell to 0-11 this season when scoring less than 100 points. Kenneth Faried had a rough shooting night, finishing 2 of 12 for seven points.
Denver was thin up front with Joffrey Lauvergne out because of sickness and Darrell Arthur leaving in the first half with right knee soreness. That opened things up for Vucevic down low. The Magic outscored Denver 54-34 in the paint.
Payton wrapped up the win when he converted a three-point play with 1:44 remaining. That gave the Magic an 80-72 lead.
A third quarter the Nuggets would rather forget ended on a somewhat positive note when Barton made a spin move in the lane and hit the layup to give the Nuggets a 63-62 lead. They led by as many as nine in the quarter, only to see Orlando storm back.
It wasn't a pretty first half, as Denver and Orlando turned the ball over a combined 25 times. Orlando also went 0 for 8 from 3-point range.
Magic: F Aaron Gordon (sprained right ankle) and guard C.J. Watson (sore left calf) didn't play. … The Magic play in Phoenix on Wednesday. They are 4-2 in back-to-back outings this season – 3-0 in the first game and 1-2 in the second. … Vucevic recorded his ninth double-double of the season. … Orlando had 20 turnovers. … Tobias Harris scored 17 points. … Andrew Nicholson grabbed 14 rebounds.
Nuggets: Michael Malone was a big fan of Scott Skiles when the Magic coach played at Michigan State. ''I've always loved his toughness. I think the teams he coaches take on his identity,'' the Nuggets coach said. ''It's great he's back in the league. I loved him as a player and have a lot of respect for him as a coach.'' … Arthur had no points and one rebound before exiting with a knee injury. … Gary Harris missed his sixth straight game with a concussion. … Faried and J.J. Hickson each had 11 rebounds.
Magic: At Phoenix on Wednesday.
Nuggets: Host Minnesota on Friday.