Magic vs Nuggets: What Went Right

(Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

Orlando played with heart and desperation in the second half of their 109-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets Wednesday evening at the Amway Arena. We are now going to examine what the Magic did right to earn their victory.

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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