1. The Magic dominated the glass. Orlando outrebounded the second-ranked rebounding team in the NBA 51-35, led by Dwight Howard's return to rebounding prominence as he grabbed 24 boards. Orlando finished with a season-high 16 offensive rebounds, 9 by Howard.
2. Rashard Lewis showed why the Magic showed him the money. Lewis led Orlando with 25 points, and also hit the glass and grabbed 7 rebounds. Lewis couldn't be stopped by Denver forward Kenyon Martin.
3. Jameer Nelson was better than his statline. Nelson finished with a respectable 13 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and two steals, but the stats don't show how well he executed the Magic offense.
4. Solid defense. Orlando held the Nuggets to just 44% shooting (33-75) from the field, and really limited Denver's second chance opportunities (just 7 offensive boards). Orlando forced 15 Denver turnovers, and held the Nuggets leading scorer, Allen Iverson, to just 21 points on 5 of 16 shooting.
5. Another lift from Brian Cook. Brian Cook logged extra minutes as Hedo Turkoglu was in foul trouble for most of the night and scored 18 points on 7-9 shooting (4-5 from behind the three point line).
The Magic had to have a win Wednesday night, and they delivered by outscoring the Nuggets 53-41 from when starting guard Maurice Evans was ejected with 7:41 left in the third quarter. Orlando looked nothing like the team that seemed nearly lifeless in Monday's 118-111 loss at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the victory, the Magic enter the all-star break with a 33-21 record, in first place over the Washington Wizards by 7 games.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of MagicIllustrated.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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