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Magic102, Nuggets 89

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO - The rebuilt Orlando Magic, playing without All-NBA center Dwight Howard for the first time in eight seasons, opened a new era Friday night with a 102-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Forward Glen Davis led the charge with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Sixth man J.J. Redick had 21 points and six assists. The Magic never trailed after the first few minutes, leading by as many as 23 points in the second half.

The Magic, already low on experience, lost veteran Hedo Turkoglu in the third period with a broken left hand.

The Magic led 78-68 after three periods, losing much of a 21-point cushion they held at intermission but never losing control of the game.

Denver was led by Danilo Gallinari with 23 points and eight rebounds. Ty Lawson had 12 points and seven assists. The Nuggets (0-2) play in Miami Saturday night.

At least on opening night, Howard was not missed after forcing his trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. His absence unleashed a fast-breaking team that overwhelmed the Nuggets.

Nikola Vucevic, who replaced Howard as the Magic's starting center, was saddled with foul trouble early and finished with six points and four rebounds.

Magic forward Andrew Nicholson, one of four rookies on the Magic roster, was the first to make his NBA debut, entering midway in the third quarter.

. The Magic led 58-37 at halftime, riding the hot starts of Davis and Redick.

Davis had 15 points and six rebounds by intermission. Redick had 15 points and five assists.

The Magic had a 10-0 run in the first quarter and a 9-0 run in the second, taking control early after their glitzy, opening night introductions.

The Nuggets, who play Saturday night in Miami to wrap up their first road trip, were outhustled and outshot in the first two periods. The Magic hit 24 of their first 42 shots (57.1 percent) and had no trouble getting fast-break baskets.

Notes: The rebuilt Magic have 10 new players on their 15-man roster, including eight who were active Friday night, along with an entirely new coaching staff and a new general manager. "I just told the guys, 'Enjoy the now,'" said first-year coach Jacque Vaughn. "This only happens once." . . . . . . In the crowd Friday night was University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams, who coached Vaughn at Kansas. The two have remained close, and Williams wanted to see Vaughn make his coaching debut. Vaughn became the first Williams' player to become an NBA head coach. . . . . . . Veteran Denver coach George Karl was asked whether he remembered his first game as an NBA head coach. It was in 1984 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. "We lost our first. We started the season, 0-9," he said. "I only remember my first win."
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