DENVER (AP) – Aaron Gordon scored 24 points against his former team on Sunday night to give the Denver Nuggets the Orlando Magic 119-109.
“They are my brothers,” said Gordon, “but business is business.”
Gordon said he was proud of his team’s resilience, as evidenced by the 72-44 recovery in the second half.
“A lot of teams that go down by 18 in the first half, they just let go, they just give up,” Gordon said.
These guys are not.
“It is a will,” he said, “where this team can go.”
Gordon scored Denver in the top ten, then helped the Nuggets clear a deficit of 18 points, their 14th win in 17 games, for their 10th straight win over Mejki.
“Bad attack, weak defense, bad effort,” Denver coach Michael Malone said of his team’s terrible first half, which he called “our worst season”.
What followed was a masterpiece?
“It was great to see the comeback, but I prefer to watch 48 minutes of that kind of basketball,” said Malone.
Den Amal Murray added 22 points and Michael Porter Jr. added 20 for Denver, who had 17 points, 16 assists and nine assists from Nikola Jokic. Orlando was led by Chuma Okeke և Terence Ross with 19 points each.
Rookie RJ Hampton, with whom Dender traded Gordon, scored 16 points, including Orlando’s top seven.
“It was definitely fun to see those guys compete against those guys,” said Hampton. “They are a great basketball team.”
Ahead of the report, Malone said he did not have to advise Gordon to control his emotions against his former team, which split him from Denver after seven seasons in Orlando last week.
But he urged his team not to take Orlando lightly, as they are a rebuilding team that is also plagued by injuries and illnesses.
“If we think we can just introduce ourselves because we are playing a team that may not have a marketing name, we will end up in a ball game,” Malone warned.
They are convinced that they did.
For most of the first half, the Nuggets were behind in double digits, reducing the deficit to 54-47, giving up the last 11 points of the second quarter, falling behind 65-47.
Denver wiped it all out in the third quarter, before Ross bounced off Orlando in the final seconds to make it 86-85.
But in the last minutes, the Nuggets withdrew from their fourth consecutive victory after a big sale with Gordon.
Magic coach Steve Clifford called his team’s injury epidemic “an opinion I have never had as a head coach or assistant.” Kent Anthony (ribs), Michael Carter-Williams (non-ANC), Markel Fultz (left ACL), Harris (left loser), Karim Mane (hamstring) և Otto Porter Jr. (left leg), Chasson Randle (limited) hamstring), James Ennis III (non-COVID disease) և Mo Bamba (non-COVID disease).
Nuggets. In the second quarter, the Nuggets paid tribute to Harris in a video that earned him the applause of 4,050 Ball Arena fans in their first public opening game before the epidemic hit last year (staff և front line players were in the last game). Newcomer Hampton received his video tribute at the end of the quarter. … Denver outscored 57% to 39% in the first half.
Magical. Hosts the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Nuggets. On Tuesday night, host the Detroit Pistons և former teammates: era herd Grant եյս Mason Plumley.
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