The Orlando Magic’s season-long street journey resulted in heartbreaking vogue, with a Nikola Jokić game-winning 3-pointer giving the Denver Nuggets a 119-116 victory Sunday evening at Ball Area.
The Magic had combined outcomes throughout the swing that led to them being 2-2 on the street coming into Sunday.
Stout defensive play highlighted the wins over the Golden State Warriors (Jan. 7) and Portland Path Blazers (Tuesday) whereas inconsistencies in numerous areas led to losses to the Sacramento Kings (Monday) and Utah Jazz (Friday).
The inconsistencies have been even noticeable in opposition to the Nuggets.
Within the first half, the Magic struggled with scoring within the paint and transition protection. They scored simply 16 factors within the paint and allowed Denver to attain 19 fastbreak factors within the first two quarters to path 69-54 at halftime.
From there, the Magic locked in. They picked up their tempo, performed with extra power defensively and attacked the paint extra.
They pressured 8 third-quarter turnovers and scored 9 fastbreak factors within the third — double the variety of fastbreak factors that they had at halftime (4).
The Magic scored their first 6 factors of the second half within the paint and matched the first-half paint-scoring whole throughout the first seven minutes of the third, serving to them minimize the Nuggets’ result in 94-88 heading into the fourth.
Orlando stayed dialed in, beginning the fourth with an 8-4 run and finally taking a 101-100 lead after a Bol Bol putback dunk with 8:27 remaining for the Magic’s first lead for the reason that first quarter.
Even after each groups reloaded with their starters, the Magic stayed with it. Each groups traded buckets, with neither main by greater than 4 for the rest of the sport.
Paolo Banchero (18 factors on 5-of-9 taking pictures, 4 assists) knocked down a pair of free throws to present the Magic a quarter-best 113-109 lead earlier than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12 factors) sank a pull-up 3 to chop the result in 113-112 with 1:37 remaining.
Markelle Fultz (20 factors, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and a couple of steals) tied it up at 116 on a free throw with 14.9 seconds remaining.
However Jokić, the reigning back-to-back MVP, knocked down the stepback 24-footer with 0.2 seconds left to ship the Magic again to Central Florida with a 2-3 report on the journey.
Jokić led the Nuggets (30-13) with 17 factors, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for his league-best twelfth triple-double. The victory was the sixth consecutive for West-leading Denver.
Franz Wagner had 19 factors and 5 rebounds whereas Bol added 17 factors and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench for the Magic (16-28).
Gary Harris was accessible and began alongside Fultz, Wagner, Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr. (8 factors, 6 rebounds and a couple of assists) after being listed as questionable due to mallet finger (fifth digit) on his taking pictures hand.
R.J. Hampton (not with the staff), Kevon Harris (transferred to G League as a part of his two-way contract), Jonathan Isaac (G League project), Chuma Okeke (left knee surgical procedure) and Admiral Schofield (coach’s determination) weren’t accessible.
Hampton averaged 23.8 factors, 5.3 rebounds and a couple of assists in 27.2 minutes throughout the 4 video games he performed in his most up-to-date stint with the group’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.
Isaac, who performed for Lakeland on Wednesday for his first official basketball recreation in 892 days, suited up once more for Lakeland in Saturday’s 117-100 win over the Greensboro Swarm. He had 15 factors (5-of-14 taking pictures), 9 rebounds and a couple of blocks in 16 minutes off the bench.
When Isaac performs for the NBA staff for the primary time in 2½ years has but to be decided.
Isaac missed the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons and half of this season since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Aug. 2, 2020 — greater than 29 months since his final recreation motion earlier than Wednesday.
However taking part in for Lakeland is an encouraging signal that he’ll be suiting up for Orlando within the close to future.
The Magic will play their first dwelling recreation after the journey on Friday vs. the New Orleans Pelicans at Amway Heart.
This text first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. E mail Khobi Worth at firstname.lastname@example.org or comply with him on Twitter at @khobi_price.