Home / World News / 7 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ win at Orlando Magic – The Denver Post

7 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ win at Orlando Magic – The Denver Post

ORLANDO, Fla — The Denver Nuggets got a much-needed road victory Friday, topping the Magic 103-89.

Here are seven takeaways from the win.

1. Squashing the skids. Denver is 14-11 through 25 games and enters Saturday in fifth place in the Western Conference playoff standings. A huge key to that start? Even with the immense road struggles, the Nuggets have not lost more than two games in a row at any point so far this season. Coach Michael Malone said the team talked about that fact in the locker room.

“This was an important game for us to get,” Malone said, “and we went out there and took care of business.”

2. Get Gary going. Gary Harris did not score while playing just eight minutes in the first half, partially because of foul trouble and partially because Malone “rode that (bench) unit” in the second quarter. So Denver made a concerted effort to “try to get him going” after the break. Harris delivered, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the first four minutes of the quarter. He got to the rim for a finger-roll layup on the Nuggets’ first possession, sank two free throws, slammed home a dunk and hit a pair of jumpers.

“I’m not surprised that Gary was able to do that,” Malone said, “because he had fresh legs going into that second half.”

3. Mudiay over Murray. For the second consecutive game, Emmanuel Mudiay totaled more minutes than Jamal Murray. Mudiay filled out a nice line with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting (his season high for field-goal attempts), five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two turnovers in 31 minutes (versus 17 for Murray). But Malone perhaps most appreciated Mudiay’s demeanor down the stretch, when Denver was nursing a comfortable lead.

“Here’s a third-year guard who knows that, OK, we have the lead, the clock is our friend,” Malone said. “We don’t have to get into a ‘Helter Skelter’ game. (He) calmed us down, got us into the offense and made really smart basketball plays.”

4. Barton being Barton. At one point in the first quarter, Malone tried to give Will Barton a rest. But then Harris picked up his second foul, immediately sending Barton back into the game. Barton then played all but 18 seconds in the second half to stuffed the box score with 19 points (8-of-16 shooting), six rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks. Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap are Denver’s best players. But Barton continues to be an incredibly valuable piece of this team, given his ability to start or come off the bench and to play all three perimeter positions. Malone also praised Barton’s defense Friday, noting that he (like the team) had gotten away from that in the past couple games.

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