Orlando Magic @ Denver Nuggets


After an embarrassing loss to the New York Knicks Wednesday and a blown lead that resulted in another loss, this time to the Dallas Mavericks, Friday night The Magic will take on The Denver Nuggets tonight. The Nuggets defeated the Charlotte Bobcats Friday night to improve to 28-24. The Magic enter with a record of 32-20.

This is the first meeting between these two teams. They’ll square off again in Denver on April 22.

The last time these two teams met, Jameer Nelson’s buzzer-beating three-pointer gave the Magic an 85-82 victory on March 18, 2011 in Orlando. Dwight Howard had 16 points and 18 rebounds while Wilson Chandler led all scorers with 20 points.

The Magic rank 16th in offensive rating (104.5), 10th in defensive rating (102.5) and play at the league’s ffith-slowest pace (89.3). The Nuggets are sixth in offensive rating (107.7), 23rd in defensive rating (106.2) and play at the league’s fastest pace (94.6).

Tip-off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 6:00 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports and nationally on NBA TV.

As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5  and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.

The officials for tonight’s game are Tony Brothers, Kane Fitzgerald and Derek Richardson.

The Line: Orlando – 5.5 (200.5u)


Denver Nuggets

JaVale McGee
Kenneth Faried
Wilson Chandler*
Arron Afflalo
Ty Lawson

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard* Glen Davis**
Ryan Anderson
Hedo Turkoglu
Jason Richardson
Jameer Nelson

Danilo Gallinari (broken left thumb) is out indefinitely.

*Wilson Chandler is out.

**Dwight Howard injured his back after being punched by Mavericks Center Brendan Haywood Friday night.

Howard is out.

Glen Davis, who managed to play just seven minutes in Friday’s loss to Dallas because of a hamstring injury, is questionable. That could mean more time for Earl Clark, who grabbed seven rebounds in just under 13 minutes Friday.

Davis will start at Center.

The Nuggets look much different than they did earlier in the season. First of all, they dealt Nene to the Washington Wizards and brought back Javale McGee, who has the best twitter account ever, and brought back Wilson Chandler, who was playing in China.

Since joining the Nuggets, McGee, a fantastic athlete and shot-blocker, who’s had his game questioned for many reasons other than his athletic ability, has played six games, starting three, and is averaging 11.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 60.0% from the field with Denver.

Chandler has played in seven games, starting six, and is putting up 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

McGee and Chandler are two of six players averaging double figures in scoring. Gallinari, who is second in the team in scoring, is out, but the Nuggets still have their leading scorer (Ty Lawson, 15.6 ppg), their third-leading scorer (Al Harrington, 14.3 ppg), their fourth-leading scorer (Arron Afflalo, 14.2 ppg), plus their fifth (McGee) and sixth (Chandler) leading scorers. As you can see, even without Gallinari, the offense is still a force to be reckoned with. In fact, the Nuggets have three other players (Andre Miller, rookie Kenneth Faried and Corey Brewer averaging at least 9.3 ppg.

Jameer Nelson will have to continue his recent play to keep pace with Ty Lawson, who is dishing out 6.7 apg and shooting 47.4% from the field in addition to his 15.6 ppg.

The Nuggets will throw McGee and potentially Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufous (questionable with a strained left knee) and Chris Anderson (who has been a “DNP-Coaches Decision” for each of the last three games at Dwight Howard. Howard has averaged 21.7 points and 16.7 rebounds per game in three matchups with McGee so far this season.

Nuggets Resources:

Denver Post
Denver Stiffs
The Nugg Doctor
Nugg Love
Roundball Mining Company

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)