Orlando Magic Grades: Denver Nuggets 113, Orlando Magic 104

Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets turned the pressure up on the Orlando Magic and raced past for a win. (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets turned the pressure up on the Orlando Magic and raced past for a win. (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic gave up a 24-0 run in the third quarter and could not catch back up to the Denver Nuggets and their dynamic star duo.

Final. 104. 38. 113. 73

The wave overcame the Orlando Magic fairly suddenly. They seemed to have whiplash as they tried desperately to come back.

They tried to attack the basket and get shots in the paint and they would not fall. The free-flowing nature of the team that helped build a 15-point halftime lead and a 19-point lead in the third quarter. The Orlando Magic were moving and getting out in transition while stifling the Denver Nuggets’ potent defense.

When the 24-0 run started that would bury the Magic and force them to try to rally back into the game, it just kept getting worse and worse for the team. Layups would not fall and the Nuggets would run it right back, finding gaps and hitting the same shots the Magic were missing.

Denver crowded Orlando and rushed ahead. The Magic had to scramble back in the fourth quarter after trailing by eight points.

Orlando indeed cut the lead to two points even after that devastating run. The Magic had their chance to tie it. Markelle Fultz weaved his way into the lane and missed the shot.

From there Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray took over. Nikola Jokic again hit a wrong-footed fadeaway shot over Nikola Vucevic to bury the Magic’s chances for a win and Jamal Murray did the west. Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic again could not hit shots down the stretch as the Nuggets completed their comeback for a 113-104 win at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

Orlando again seemed to put so many of the pieces together that they needed. Their first-half play was superb and about as good as they have played against elite teams on both ends. The Magic showed they had that capability in them.

Everyone knew the altitude and fatigue of a back to back would get to them. This still had schedule loss written all over it and the Magic seemed prepare to fight through that. But they had no answer when it finally hit and all their shots started falling no good.

Frustration only built and the Magic struggled to deal with the growing pressure the Nuggets put on them as their confidence grew.

Orlando missed shots and never could get themselves all the way back.

It was another game left on the board.

C+. Nikola Vucevic won the first half battle with Nikola Jokic. He floated to open spaces and hit jumpers. He got to the basket and finished around the rim. Defensively he closed out on Nikola Jokic and made it hard for him to make passes to cutters (after initially being a bit soft in his coverage).<p>Vucevic had his scoring going in getting to 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. That part was good. But the Magic also need him to be their drumbeat. When they are struggling, he has to be the guy they turn to and get easy baskets.</p><p>That was what Vucevic struggled with in the loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. And that is what he struggled with again. He really struggled in the second half especially to get separation from Jokic and make quick moves to score. He was off again for whatever reason. And the Magic needed their All-Star to lead the way.</p>. C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC

B. If there remains a bright spot from the last two games, it was <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic. D.J. AUGUSTIN

Orlando Magic. AARON GORDON. C. <a href=. F

MARKELLE FULTZ. B-. Sometimes you have to pause a bit and remember <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic

DENVER NUGGETS. B. The Denver Nuggets were struggling to get much moving. The Orlando Magic were locking them down and they were struggling to get much going. Their cutting game was eliminated and the 3-point shooting was not quite working. Denver was going through its offensive problems that it sometimes goes through.<p>Then that explosion happened. Then the Nuggets got their offense moving. And that elite-level team showed up. The Magic did nothing to slow it down. But it really came from three players. Jamal Murray scored 33 points on 11-for-19 shooting. Nikola Jokic had 18 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. And Paul Millsap had 15 points and 12 rebounds.</p><p>Denver dominated the glass even though Orlando was good enough to keep the team off the glass. The Nuggets raced ahead and had the players to finish. Again, the Magic did not.</p>. 18-8. 3rd West

Next. Orlando Magic must win on the road to stay in the hunt. dark

The Orlando Magic are 12-16 and eighth in the Eastern Conference. They wrap up their road trip Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers.