Orlando shot a season-high 58.1 percent against a road-weary Denver squad missing Carmelo Anthony and beat the Nuggets 117-95 Saturday night, snapping a three-game losing streak.
“The thing you set yourself up for is being complacent,” said Grant Hill, who scored 16 points on 8-for-12 shooting. “When they don’t have their best player and you know this is their fourth game in five nights, you don’t play, you don’t bring it like you should.
“But tonight, we brought it.”
Orlando scored 68 points in the paint and 33 on the fast break, had six players score in double figures and tied its season best with 30 assists. The Magic led by 35 points twice in the game.
“We were simply manhandled in every phase of the game from the opening tip,” Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “We were not one step behind them. We were two or three steps behind the whole night, plain and simple.”
Anthony, Denver’s leading scorer, sat out after spraining his left ankle Friday in a loss in Miami. He is questionable for Monday’s game against Phoenix.
“To get beat on the boards like we were, to get beat in transition like we were, to not defend the basket like we were, that had nothing to do with Carmelo’s absence at all,” Bzdelik said.
With a whimper, the Nuggets ended a seven-game, 11-day road trip, the franchise’s longest since 1987-88. After opening with consecutive victories, running a season-best winning streak to four, they dropped four of five.
“I don’t think we are beaten up, but we’ve been on the road a long time,” said Marcus Camby, who missed six of eight shots in a four-point, six-rebound game. “That’s still no excuse to lay an egg like this.”
Orlando knows the fatigue that comes with the road grind. The Magic are still recovering from a six-game, 12-day West Coast trip that ended Wednesday.
“Guys are really tired, still sleepy with the time difference,” said Cuttino Mobley, who’s 19 points led Orlando. “I’m going to bed at 6 in the morning and trying to sleep all day. But that’s life in the NBA.”
Dwight Howard broke out of a slump by scoring 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including four dunks. He was also 7-of-11 from the line. In the previous two games, he shot 3-for-17 from the field for 15 points.
Howard also had nine rebounds, falling one short of his eighth double-double.
DerMarr Johnson led Denver with a season-high 18 points and eight rebounds.
“He played with energy,” Bzdelik said. “Anyone who played with that tonight was a bright spot.”
Orlando was never seriously threatened after opening a 10-point lead in the first quarter. The Magic set season-best marks for shooting in a half (68.4 percent in the first) and quarter (75 percent in the first quarter). Early in the second quarter, they had made 16 of 20 shots, including 10 straight.
The Magic put the game away in the third quarter with a 25-7 run, for a 97-66 lead, then rested their starters in anticipation of Sunday’s game against Miami.
“That rest is good, man, especially coming off a road trip like that,” Francis said.
In the Nuggets’ last four losses, they’ve surrendered at least 107 points. … Orlando is 15-2 at home against Denver, with 12 straight wins. The Magic have won 18 of the last 21 meetings, and are 23-10 overall.