Denton: Magic vs. Nuggets Analysis (1/11/14)

   

As if all of that wasn’t enough to stack the odds against a Magic team now with a seven-game losing streak, they were also playing arguably the NBA’s most difficult back-to-back set of games.

The Magic lost in Sacramento on Friday and then had to make the two-hour flight to Denver. Following the flight, the team took a 45-minute bus ride from the airport and arrived at its hotel at 3 a.m. local time. In the past six years, only three road teams have won on the second night of a back-to-back in Denver after playing in the Pacific Time Zone a night earlier, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Orlando’s 2008-09 team was one of those three to win in Denver in 25 tries, but that was clearly a squad loaded with firepower and healthy bodies. That’s certainly not the case with this Magic team, which lost Ronnie Price (sinus infection) before the trip, Vucevic (concussion) on Monday and Afflalo (foot strain) on Friday in Sacramento.

Magic forward Tobias Harris scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Nelson added 10 points and seven assists before leaving injured. Second-year forward Maurice Harkless, who started on the wing in place of the injured Afflalo, scored just three points in limited action because of a sore knee.

Seven Nuggets scored in double figures, led by Randy Foye’s 18 points and three 3-pointers. Ty Lawson, a potential all-star in the ruggest Western Conference, bedeviled the Magic for 16 points, eight assists and four 3-pointers.

The Magic’s five-game, 10-day road trip mercifully comes to an end Monday night in Dallas against the Mavericks. The team flew to Dallas after Saturday’s game and it will be off on Sunday. The Magic will be back at the Amway Center on Wednesday night to face the Chicago Bulls – the first of three straight home games.

``It’s real frustrating because this is the first time we’ve been losing like this and we’re down some guys,’’ Harris said. ``As a team, we have to stay together and stay positive. We have another one in Dallas and we have to have a better mindset and focus going into the game.’’

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