Magic-Nuggets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 08, 2013
Arron Afflalo is returning to Denver mired in the longest losing streak of his career. His Orlando Magic have dropped nine straight as they try for a rare road win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. Afflalo was Denver's second-leading scorer last season with 15.2 points per game before he was dealt to Orlando (12-22) over the summer as part of the Dwight Howard multi-team deal. He already faced his former team in his Magic debut - a 102-89 home win Nov. 2. It wasn't a smooth effort for the Orlando backcourt as Afflalo and Jameer Nelson combined for 16 points on 5-of-22 shooting. The Magic got 29 points and 10 boards from Glen Davis in the opener. Davis, though, is out with a dislocated shoulder, and he's missed every game of this slide - Orlando's longest since a 13-game skid March 13-April 10, 2004. Afflalo never endured a losing streak of this length with the Nuggets (20-16). He's played fairly well over the last nine games, averaging 22.2 points on 49.7 percent shooting. The Magic have dropped eight of their last nine visits to Denver. Orlando has lost five times by four or fewer points in this slide, and that does not include Monday's 125-119 overtime defeat at Portland in the opener of a four-game trip. "The games we're losing, we're in all of them,'' Nelson said. "They're close games and hard fought but we just keep coming up short." J.J. Redick scored a season-high 29 points and Nelson added 21 and 12 assists. Nelson's 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime. "Our effort was unbelievable,'' coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We didn't get the win but at the end of the day we put in the work. Tough loss, but our guys did some amazing things tonight. They deserved to win that game.'' Nikola Vucevic posted his fourth straight double-double with 17 points and 13 boards before fouling out. He's averaging 17.0 points and 18.0 rebounds in that span. The second-year 7-footer has become a much better player since he got into foul trouble with four in 16 minutes in the opener against the Nuggets. He's part of a frontcourt that includes rookies Andrew Nicholson and DeQuan Jones with Davis out. That inexperienced unit could find things difficult against a Denver team that likes to do its damage inside, scoring 55.5 points per game in the paint. "We lead the league in points scored in the paint," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "That's our philosophy." The Nuggets seek a third straight victory after beating the Lakers 112-105 on the road Sunday. Ty Lawson had 21 points and 10 assists and Danilo Gallinari scored 20. "(When) we're all knocking down shots, playing our game and playing with confidence, we're hard to beat," Lawson said. "That gets everybody else going." Lawson is averaging 15.0 points and 6.8 assists in five career matchups against Nelson, who is averaging 10.6 points and 4.2 assists in those games although he didn't even last two minutes in one of them due to a calf injury.
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