ORLANDO, Fla. – Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for his 12th triple-double of the season, and the Denver Nuggets built a big lead before holding off the Orlando Magic 110-99 on Tuesday night.
Denver had a 24-point advantage early in the second half that was trimmed to five. But the Nuggets won their sixth consecutive road game to tie a franchise record set twice previously, most recently in 2018.
The Nuggets also won their ninth straight against the Magic and for the 16th time in 18 meetings dating to the 2003-04 season.
Denver coach Michael Malone was tearful and openly emotional before the game while talking about the 10 people killed in a grocery story by a gunman Monday in Boulder, Colorado. Malone named each of the 10 victims of a massacre that took place approximately 28 miles from downtown Denver.
He dedicated the game to the families dealing with the aftermath.
“Hopefully the players understand the tragedy that happened and what it means for us because we represent Denver, and Boulder is right there with us,” Malone said. “We’re still thinking of everybody and hope that Boulder stays strong.”
Orlando got within 92-86 with six minutes to play, but missed its next three shots and faded down the stretch. The slumping Magic lost for the 11th time in 12 games and dropped to 9-14 at home.
Jokic got his 10th assist with slightly more than four minutes remaining to move into second place in the NBA with 12 triple-doubles, trailing only Russell Westbrook (14). Jokic, who has a franchise-best 53 triple-doubles in his career, began the day tied with James Harden at 11.
Jamal Murray scored 21 points for Denver. Michael Porter Jr. had 18 points and seven rebounds.
Murray said his thoughts were with the families back in Colorado dealing with another tragedy.
“It’s stupid for that to happen and that’s 10 lives gone like that in a snap of the fingers,’’ Murray said. ”Just going to shop, get food, eggs, milk, and it’s crazy it can happen that easy. It’s crazy to think that you can walk in a store and your life could be over.”
Evan Fournier scored 31 points for the Magic — his second 30-point game of the season. Nikola Vucevic added 18 but was badly outplayed by Jokic, a fellow All-Star center.
Down as many as 24 after allowing the first basket of the second half, Orlando made it a game in the third quarter. The Magic used a 20-4 run to get within eight and had a 30-19 advantage in the period. They eventually got as close as five two different times in the fourth.
“You always have to understand why you win and lose,” Malone said of Denver’s second-half turnover woes. “More importantly, you never want to accept in victory what you wouldn’t accept in defeat.”
After the game, Magic forward Aaron Gordon acknowledged he recently requested a trade from management prior to Thursday’s deadline. Gordon had 13 points and six assists in the loss. He seemed aware that Wednesday’s game against Phoenix could be the last of his seven-season stint with the Magic.
“The losses have accumulated over the years and it’s just my frustration boiling over,” Gordon said. “I think a lot of people share that sense of frustration with me.”
After this season, Gordon will have one more year remaining on his contract. The injury-ravaged Magic sit well outside the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Nuggets: Scored 28 of their first 38 points in the paint and had 42 paint points by halftime — six fewer than their per-game average. The Nuggets finished with 60 points in the paint. … Denver had a 19-0 advantage in fast-break points over the first 24 minutes.
Magic: Orlando extended its streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 1,100. That streak, which ranks fifth in the NBA, dates back to March 17, 2007. … Coach Steve Clifford said guard Terrence Ross (sore right knee) could return Wednesday. … Former Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, who helped the franchise reach the 2009 NBA Finals, sat courtside.
Nuggets: Play the Toronto Raptors in Tampa on Wednesday night.
Magic: Host the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
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