Orlando Magic Grades: Denver Nuggets 110, Orlando Magic 99

Evan Fournier turned in a stellar performance to try to lift the Orlando Magic to a win. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
Evan Fournier turned in a stellar performance to try to lift the Orlando Magic to a win. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

38. Final. 110. 73. 99

The slumping Orlando Magic fell 110-99 to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night at the Amway Center.

Coming off a lackluster effort against the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon, the Orlando Magic followed suit with a similar performance.

The Magic were down by 22 points at halftime but picked up the energy in the third quarter to shrink down the Nuggets lead to 10 points and eventually five points in the fourth quarter. Orlando outscored Denver 30-19 in the third quarter.

The energy increase was noticeable defensively as the team started to reduce its turnovers and execute better. The Magic started limiting points in the paint.

The Orlando Magic rallied in the second half to nearly erase a 24-point deficit. But the Magic remained a bit off as the Denver Nuggets held on for the win.

Although Denver let its foot off the pedal in the second half, the team proved to be too much for the Magic in the end.

Orlando missed some key shots and had turnovers in the fourth quarter with a chance to cut into the deficit. The Nuggets made the Magic pay with Nikola Jokic hitting key baskets on his way to a triple-double and back-to-back threes from Michael Porter to ice the game.

Some bright spots for the Magic were the play of Evan Fournier, who tied a season-high with 31 points and Al-Farouq Aminu, who recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds in his best game of the season.

G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER. A.

Evan Fournier played an all-around game against the Devner Nuggets. He displayed all of his offensive skills against his former team, hitting open jumpers and making plays to keep the Orlando Magic afloat after they fell behind.

He went 5 for 12 from three, created off the dribble, displayed craftiness around the rim and dished out six assists. Without the play of Fournier, the Magic would not have cut down the Nuggets lead and stuck around in the second half.

In maybe one of his last games with Orlando since he has been rumored to be on the move, Fournier showed his value to Magic and any NBA team.

. F. Orlando Magic. AL-FAROUQ AMINU. A

Al-Farouq Aminu played his best game of the season and perhaps his best game as an Orlando Magic player. Aminu scored the most points he has scored in a Magic uniform with 17 against the Denver Nuggets. He has scored in double-digits only four times in his 33 games with Orlando.

Aminu was aggressive offensively, attacking the rim, and he avoided shooting a three, which has not been a strength for him this season. He is shooting a meager 25-percent from three on the year. But he did not settle for the outside shot against Denver and was very active on both ends off the court, recording two steals and a block.

Aminu was the only Magic player with a plus rating against Denver. Aminu seems to be getting his confidence back after missing so many games with injury.

C+. . C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC

Nikola Vucevic shrank against fellow 7-footer Nikola Jokic, who recorded a triple-double with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. Vucevic could not guard Jokic in the paint or close out against him on his outside jumpers.

Vucevic did not have his usual dominant effort in the paint, grabbing only seven rebounds and his 3-point shot was not falling. He shot 2 for 8 from three and 8 for 25 from the field. Although the All-Star did not have his best game, he still finished the game with 18 points.

C. . SF. Orlando Magic. JAMES ENNIS

James Ennis was coming off his best game of the season against the Boston Celtics, a game in which he scored a season-high 18 points and went 3 for 4 from three. But Ennis was a total dud against the Nuggets. The veteran was loose with his handle, two times he got the ball stolen from him in the first half. He did not try or do much offensively the rest of the game besides hitting one of his three attempts from behind the arc.

26-17. 5th West. DENVER NUGGETS. B+.

The Denver Nuggets scored 110 points against the lowly Orlando Magic. Two teams going in the opposite directions, the Nuggets relied on their stars Tuesday night to hold onto the lead after struggling through the second half.

Nikola Jokic scored 28 points, Jamal Murray followed with 21 and Michal Porter Jr. had 18. The Nuggets shot 49.5-percent from the field but only knocked down 8 of 30 3-point attempts.

After a flawless start offensively against the Magic in which the Nuggets moved the ball well offensively and made it look easy, Denver did let up both offensively and defensively the rest of the game. It was not the best overall game for the Nuggets, but its hot start and strong finish were enough to win the game.

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The Orlando Magic are 14-29 and 14th in the Western Conference. They trail the Indiana Pacers by 5.5 games for the final spot in the Play-In Tournament. The Magic are back in action Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns at Amway Center.