Denver (32-23) at Orlando (14-42)

Fair Currently: Orlando, FL
Temp: 89° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Feb 20, 2004
  • TV: SUN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Following a pair of deadline day deals, the new-look Orlando Magic go for back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly two months as the Denver Nuggets visit TD Waterhouse Centre.

Orlando’s biggest trade Thursday was shipping swingman Gordan Giricek to Utah for shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson. Later in the day, the team received center Sean Rooks from New Orleans in exchange for point guard Shammond Williams.

Giricek averaged a career-low 10.2 points in 48 games with Orlando, and was traded at the deadline for the second time in as many seasons.

In return, the Magic received a player having a career year. Stevenson averaged 11.4 points in 54 games for the Jazz, while shooting a career-high 44.5 percent from the floor. Drafted out of high school by Utah in 2000, Stevenson’s development was a slow process.

“DeShawn is young, athletic and a fierce competitor,” Orlando general manager John Gabriel said. “He has grown nicely under the leadership of Jerry Sloan and the Jazz organization, and we look forward to him taking the next step with us.”

The Magic, however, are allowing a league-high 100.9 points per game and did little to bolster their defense with the trades. Prior to a 90-77 win over Utah on Wednesday night, Orlando lost eight straight.

The Magic haven’t won two in a row since a three-game win streak from Dec. 17-21.

Tracy McGrady scored 17 of his 43 points in the third quarter Wednesday for his second straight 40-point game, a day after he ripped his teammates for their lackadaisical defensive effort in a 127-104 loss at Milwaukee.

“I can’t do too much talking to the guys about what they need to do; it’s too late for that,” McGrady said. “So, what I’ve got to do is come out and take care of me, and hopefully they’ll follow my lead.”

The Nuggets, on the verge of doubling last season’s win total, did not make a trade Thursday.

Denver, which holds the final playoff spot in the West, needs two more wins to double last season’s total of 17 victories.

Tuesday’s 106-85 win over the Philadelphia 76ers was the team’s third straight, and its first since the All-Star break.

Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points and Nene added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who outscored the 76ers 49-31 in the second half.

“We began the second half the way we ended before the All-Star break,” Anthony said. “This game was one to see where we were at as a team, mentally and physically. Tonight we showed we’ve improved over the first half of the season.”

STANDINGS (through Feb. 18): Nuggets - 4th place, 7 GB, Midwest Division. Magic - 7th place, 20 GB, Atlantic Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Nuggets - F Anthony, F Nene, C Marcus Camby, G Voshon Lenard, G Andre Miller. Magic - F Keith Bogans, F Juwan Howard, C Steven Hunter, G McGrady, G Tyronn Lue.

TEAM LEADERS: Nuggets - Anthony, 19.5 ppg; Camby, 10.1 rpg; Miller, 6.5 apg. Magic - McGrady, 27.8 ppg and 5.6 apg; Howard, 6.8 rpg.

SEASON SERIES: Nuggets, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 14; Nuggets, 106-101. At Denver, Boykins and Miller each scored 27 points, and the Nuggets withstood 51 points from McGrady to hand the Magic their eighth straight loss.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Nuggets - 11-15 on the road; Magic - 7-19 at home.

INJURIES: Nuggets - G Jeff Trepagnier (ankle); C Mark Pope (knee). Magic - C Rooks (ankle); C Andrew DeClercq (knee); F Grant Hill (ankle); F Britton Johnson (knee); F Pat Garrity (knee); F Monty Williams (knee).

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