DENVER (AP) — Aaron Gordon scored 24 factors in opposition to his former workforce, rallying the Denver Nuggets previous the Orlando Magic 119-109 Sunday evening.
“These are my brothers, man,” Gordon stated, “however enterprise is enterprise.”
Gordon stated he was pleased with his workforce’s resilience, evidenced by its 72-44 restoration within the second half.
“Numerous groups that get down by 18 within the first half, they might simply let go of the rope, they might simply quit,” Gordon argued.
Not these guys.
“It’s a testomony,” he stated, “to the place this workforce can go.”
Gordon scored Denver’s first dozen factors, then helped the Nuggets erase an 18-point halftime deficit for his or her 14th win in 17 video games and their 10th straight over the Magic.
“Poor offense, poor protection, poor effort,” Denver coach Michael Malone stated of his workforce’s terrible first half, which he referred to as “our worst half of the season.”
Which was adopted by a masterpiece.
“It was nice to see the comeback, however I’d relatively see 48 minutes” of that type of basketball, Malone stated.
Jamal Murray added 22 factors and Michael Porter Jr. 20 for Denver, which bought 17 factors, 16 assists and 9 rebounds from Nikola Jokic. Chuma Okeke and Terrence Ross led Orlando with 19 factors every.
Rookie R.J. Hampton, who was dealt by Denver within the Gordon commerce, scored 16 factors, together with Orlando’s first seven.
“It was positively enjoyable to see these guys and compete in opposition to these guys,” Hampton stated. “They’re an awesome basketball workforce.”
Malone stated earlier than tip-off that he didn’t have to present Gordon any recommendation about retaining his feelings in examine going in opposition to his former workforce that dealt him to Denver final week after seven seasons in Orlando.
However he did admonish his workforce to not take Orlando calmly as a result of they’re a rebuilding workforce, one which’s additionally riddled by accidents and diseases.
“If we expect we will simply present up as a result of we’re taking part in a workforce that doesn’t have perhaps a marquee identify, we’re going to search out ourselves in a ballgame,” Malone warned.
They certain did.
The Nuggets trailed by double digits for a lot of the first half, and after reducing their deficit to 54-47, they surrendered the ultimate 11 factors of the second quarter and trailed 65-47 at halftime.
Denver erased all of that within the third quarter earlier than Ross put Orlando again on prime 86-85 with a jumper within the closing seconds.
However the Nuggets pulled away within the remaining minutes for his or her fourth consecutive win because the huge commerce for Gordon.
Magic coach Steve Clifford referred to as his workforce’s harm epidemic “like nothing I’ve ever been by means of earlier than as a head coach or an assistant.” Sidelined in opposition to Denver had been: Cole Anthony (ribs), Michael Carter-Williams (non-COVID sickness), Markelle Fultz (left ACL), Harris (strained left adductor), Karim Mane (hamstring) and Otto Porter Jr. (left foot). Restricted had been Chasson Randle (hamstring), James Ennis III (non-COVID-illness) and Mo Bamba (non-COVID sickness).
Nuggets: The Nuggets performed a video tribute to Harris within the second quarter, which earned him a standing ovation from the 4,050 followers at Ball Area within the first recreation open to the general public since earlier than the pandemic hit final 12 months (staff and front-line employees had been finally recreation). Hampton, a rookie, bought his video tribute later within the quarter. … Denver was outshot within the first half 57 % to 39 %.
Magic: Hosts the Washington Wizards on Wednesday evening.
Nuggets: Host the Detroit Pistons and former teammates Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee on Tuesday evening.