Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/10/13
DENVER -- Orlando has lost heartbreakers, let wins slip away and has been blown out during its 10-game losing streak. Wednesday's game might have topped them all. The Magic saw another fourth-quarter lead slip away in a 108-105 loss to Denver, but after the game it was the head-shaking foul differential that had them baffled. The Magic nearly overcame 19 points and 19 rebounds from Kenneth Faried and 19 more points from Ty Lawson. They couldn't overcome the fact that Denver was whistled for seven fouls to Orlando's 27, a disparity that led to a 36-10 advantage in free-throw attempts for the Nuggets. "So they fouled seven times the whole game? I wasn't even thinking about it during the game," Arron Afflalo said. The fouls were a point of contention for the Nuggets, too, but for a different reason. "I was a little disappointed at halftime we didn't foul. We didn't foul in the second half either," coach George Karl said. "Seven is kind of insulting and embarrassing to me because our team should be more aggressive than that. They should shoot twice that many free throws just to see what you can get away with." What the Nuggets did get away with was a win that looked in doubt for most of the fourth quarter. When Nelson, who had a game-high 20 points, drained a 3-pointer with 5:36 left Orlando, led 94-87 despite Denver being called for just one foul in the second half to that point. "There's got to be a way I can steal some of those secrets and get my guys to not hand check like his guys and to get his guys play in a way that seven foul calls," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "It'll be interesting to watch it on film. The film never lies. Looking forward to seeing the seven fouls." Vaughn was hoping to see a win, but his team couldn't close it out at the end. Denver, which felt it had a home game stolen by Minnesota last week, was determined not to let it happen again two days after beating the Lakers in Los Angeles. "I was talking to Ty on the sideline, about how we just beat L.A. and we can't have this letdown," Faried said. "Not tonight." Faried did his part. After Nelson's basket, Andre Iguodala hit a corner 3-pointer, Faried made a free throw and then a layup to cut the deficit to one, and two free throws by Andre Miller gave Denver the lead with 4:16 left. Nelson was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 2:23 left, and he sank all three free throws to give Orlando a 99-97 lead, but Iguodala hit Faried with a lob pass for a dunk to tie it. Iguodala missed two free throws, but Faried got the rebound, the Nuggets called timeout and Lawson converted a three-point play with 1:27 left to give Denver the lead for good. J.J. Redick, who finished with 17 points, missed a wide-open reverse layup on Orlando's next possession, and Danilo Gallinari's dunk with 51 seconds left made it a five-point game. Afflalo cut Denver's lead to 104-102 with a 3-pointer, but Iguodala's finger roll helped seal the win. It was a tough setback for a team done talking about not closing out games. "All you can do is correct it. Honestly, I'm tired of talking about it," Afflalo said. "It's 10 games in a row now, same (stuff), I don't know what else to say expect we need to play better and win." The Nuggets led 64-63 when the Magic went on a run to finish the third quarter. Redick hit two 3-pointers and an 18-foot jumper as Orlando took a 77-70 lead into the fourth quarter. The game was close throughout the second quarter. Maurice Harkless had a putback with four seconds left in the period to give Orlando a 55-53 lead at the break. NOTES: During the losing streak, the Magic have lost twice in overtime, and four other times the defeats were by three or fewer points. ... Magic guard E'Twaun Moore went through some light drills at practice Tuesday. He has been out with a sprained elbow since Dec. 28. ... Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler has been practicing with the team, and he could play Sunday. He has missed all but four games after undergoing offseason hip surgery. ... Karl had high praise for Afflalo, who played four years in Denver. Karl said Afflalo earned minutes with his defense and turned into a reliable scorer. He also praised his attitude and work ethic. "He has an intensity and a passion at the high level of NBA players," Karl said. "He doesn't goof around, he doesn't get distracted. Someone taught him at a very young age that winning is why you play, and it is very deep in his basketball soul."
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