Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/17

Game 1: Saturday, January 17th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 11th

Magic 106

(33-8, 17-5 away)

Nuggets 88

(27-14, 16-6 home)

    Coverage: FSFLHD

    9:00 PM ET, January 17, 2009

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 26 21 32 27106
    DEN 23 25 22 1888

    Top Performers

    Orlando: H. Turkoglu 31 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

    Denver: L. Kleiza 26 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast

    Turkoglu's 31 power Magic to perfect West Coast trip

    Associated Press

    DENVER -- The Orlando Magic believe in themselves. After a dominant road trip, the rest of the NBA is believing in them, too.

    Hedo Turkoglu scored 31 points, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis had 23 each and the Orlando Magic completed a perfect four-game West Coast trip with a 106-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.

    Double Take

    At 6-1, the Magic have the best winning percentage in the NBA this season on the second game of a back-to-back, a situation where many teams are too tired to perform at their best:

    Team W-L Win pct
    Magic 6-1 .857
    Lakers 7-2 .778
    Cavs 6-2 .750
    Celtics 7-3 .700
    Rockets 9-4 .692

    "It was a very impressive road trip," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Come out, get four straight, three of them against teams leading their division. Yeah, I think it's a very impressive road trip."

    Dwight Howard had 14 points and 20 rebounds to help the Magic win their seventh straight and ninth in 10 games. It was Howard's second straight 20-rebound game.

    "We have confidence, but it doesn't help us relax or act like we did something," Turkoglu said. "We haven't done anything yet. We are going to get there and be a great team. It's a goal we want to reach."

    Orlando (33-8) has the most wins in the NBA and is percentage points behind Cleveland for first overall in the Eastern Conference. The Magic beat all three Western Conference division leaders on the trip.

    "That is a tough team," said Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups, who had 16 points.

    Orlando completed the trip with another strong night from behind the 3-point line. The Magic were 11-for-26 from behind the arc and shot 53 percent from long range on the road trip.

    "Tonight was our worst 3-point shooting game in the last week," Van Gundy said. "We made 11 and shot 42 percent. Lately that's a bad night for us."

    It was good enough to beat a Nuggets team that was 26-10 since acquiring Billups from Detroit.

    "They did what they do every night," Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin said. "They hit 3s. That's why they are 33-8."

    Orlando, which beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, showed no signs of fatigue against the Nuggets. The Magic led by nine after three and extended the lead to six at 85-71 with consecutive 3-pointers from Turkoglu and Courtney Lee with 10:01 left. Denver got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

    Turkoglu took over in the third quarter, scoring 12 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Magic a 79-70 lead heading into the fourth.

    "That probably took the wind out of our sails," Nuggets coach George Karl said.

    Linas Kleiza, who had a season-high 26 points, led the Nuggets with seven points in the third.

    "We didn't have a lot of weapons making shots," Karl said. "LK was our only guy in a groove. Probably need more than that to beat one of the top five teams in basketball."

    The Magic are happy with the first half of the season, but they don't want to rest on that. They have bigger goals, and Howard refused to call this road trip a statement to the league.

    "The only statements come at the end of the year when we're trying to win a championship," Howard said. "I feel like we can beat anybody if we play the way we know how to play and be consistent on the defensive end."

    Turkoglu and Nelson got off to strong starts in the first period, scoring 10 points each to help the Magic take a 26-23 heading into the second quarter.

    Nelson didn't slow down in the second quarter, going 5-for-8 from the field and finishing with 21 points at the half.

    Kleiza helped the Nuggets overcome Nelson's big first half with 14 points to help give Denver a 48-47 lead at the break.

    Nene and Howard got physical early, drawing a double foul and later getting tangled up. The two stood toe-to-toe, but the officials stepped in before anything happened.

    Nene was called for a foul on the play, and moments later Howard drew his second personal and a technical.

    Nene was saddled with foul trouble most of the night before fouling out with 4:39 left and Orlando ahead 95-80. He finished with four points and eight rebounds.

    Game notes

    Howard's double-double was his 21st this season, tops in the NBA. ... The Magic got to their Denver hotel at 4:45 a.m. Saturday after playing the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday night. ... Cal Ripken Jr. attended the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 106 88
    FGM-FGA 37-80 (.463) 31-85 (.365)
    3PM-3PA 11-26 (.423) 5-16 (.313)
    FTM-FTA 21-30 (.700) 21-30 (.700)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-41 16-47
    Assists 16 19
    Turnovers 11 17
    Steals 7 5
    Blocks 6 4
    Fast Break Points 0 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (3/0) 26 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 18 5

    Top Performers

    Hedo Turkoglu Turkoglu
    Points: 31
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Linas Kleiza Kleiza
    Points: 26
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0