The Denver Nuggets(27-36) will look to end a two game skid tonight, when they face-off with the struggling Orlando Magic(19-46) in Orlando. Neither team is in position to make a run at the postseason this year and are probably more worried, about there off-season plans at this point. One of the few bright spots right now for the Nuggets, is the play of forward Kenneth Faried lately. Faried has been dominant over the past five games, averaging 21.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and shooting 70% from the field during that span. For the Magic, they’ve lost three straight games, most recently to the lifeless Milwaukee Bucks 105-98 on Monday. They’re led by former Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo, who leads the team in scoring with 19.5 points per game. However the foundation of Orlando’s team, is built upon three up and coming young guns.
Forward Tobias Harris, guard Victor Oladipo and center Nikola Vucevic hold the Magic’s future in there hands. Harris is becoming one of the most underrated and versatile players in the league this season, starting thirty six games for the Magic. He tore up Denver in the team’s first meeting, finishing with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Vucevic on the other hand continues to flourish in Orlando, averaging at least a double-double and shooting 50% from the field for the second straight season. Oladipo also has had a solid rookie campaign, since being selected second overall in last year’s draft by the Magic. The former Indiana Hoosier is averaging 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game, while making a push for Rookie of the Year as well.
The Nuggets had a field day in there first outing with the Magic, routing them 120-94 at the Pepsi Center. Denver controlled pretty much everything on both ends of the floor, as seven players scored in double figures led by eighteen from Evan Fournier. I do expect this meeting to be much more competitive though then the first, given the fact that both Afflalo and Vucevic both will actually play this time out. Look for another fun battle between Faried and Harris to take place, both players played well against each other in the first meeting. I expect Oladipo and Afflalo to be aggressive early on, while Orlando also tries to control the glass against Denver(Nuggets out-rebounded Magic 50-40 in first meeting). This game to me, simply comes down to who’s frontcourt plays better either Mozgov and Faried or Vucevic and Harris, which should be a very fun battle to watch. It will also be interesting to see if the Magic have an answer for Ty Lawson on the defensive end. The game is set for a 5:00 PM MT tip-off and will be on the Altitude Sports network.