NBA Game Summary - Denver at Orlando
(Sunday, March 28th)
Final Score: Orlando 103, Denver 97
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - J.J. Redick replaced an injured Vince Carter in the first quarter and finished with 23 points, including seven in a vital fourth quarter, as Orlando beat Denver, 103-97, for its 13th win in 15 games.
Ryan Anderson added 19 points in a reserve role for the Magic, who have a stranglehold on second place in the Eastern Conference. They also maintained a 4 1/2-game lead on Atlanta for first place in the Southeast Division after the Hawks beat Indiana earlier Sunday.
Dwight Howard totaled 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic, who have won nine of their last 10 home games.
"I think we've been doing an excellent job the last couple of games of being aggressive on both ends, really trying to focus on the defense," Howard said. "Guys like J.J. and Ryan, and Matt (Barnes) really stepped up."
Carter suffered a sprained right big toe when he collided with Denver's Arron Afflalo on a pick-and-roll play just 95 seconds into the game.
Carmelo Anthony had 26 points on 11-of-25 shooting and ended with eight rebounds for Denver, which lost in Orlando for the 16th time in the last 17 tries. Despite the defeat, Denver clinched a playoff berth earlier in the day when Memphis lost to Milwaukee.
Chauncey Billups scored 18 for the Nuggets, who have lost four of their last five games. They fell into a tie with Utah for first place in the Northwest Division.
"We've just got to stick together," Nuggets interim coach Adrian Dantley said. "We haven't been playing well. You're going to go through stretches like that during the year and we've just got to come back, stay together and win tomorrow."
Joey Graham's short jumper had the Nuggets within 87-85 with 8:27 left in the final quarter. Malik Allen blocked a Howard shot, but the Nuggets couldn't tie the game as Nene turned the ball over.
Denver had another attempt to square the contest after Howard missed a pair of foul shots, but J.R. Smith was whistled for traveling. That led to an Anderson three-pointer with 7:06 left. Howard added a free throw and a Jameer Nelson driving layup moved the lead to 93-85 with 4:28 to go. The Nuggets never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Denver led 24-22 after one quarter before the second proved to be a back-and- forth period. Denver held onto a 52-51 lead at the half and led by as many as 10 in the third on a Billups jumper for a 67-57 margin with 7:39 left. Orlando then scored nine in a row and tied it at 77 moving to the fourth.
The home team has won 13 of the last 15 matchups...The Nuggets are 1-3 on a five-game road trip, which concludes Monday at Dallas...Nelson had 15 points, one less than Barnes...Smith and Nene each scored 13...The Nuggets are a miserable 3-19 all-time at Amway Arena.
03/28 23:44:16 ET