ORLANDO, Fla. — Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for his 12th triple-double of the season, and the Denver Nuggets built a big lead before holding off the Orlando Magic 110-99 on Tuesday night.
Denver had a 24-point advantage early in the second half that was trimmed to five. But the Nuggets won their sixth consecutive road game to tie a franchise record set twice previously, most recently in 2018.
The Nuggets also won their ninth straight against the Magic and for the 16th time in 18 meetings dating to the 2003-04 season.
Orlando got within 92-86 with six minutes to play, but missed its next three shots and faded down the stretch. The slumping Magic lost for the 11th time in 12 games and dropped to 9-14 at home.
Jokic got his 10th assist with slightly more than four minutes remaining to move into second place in the NBA with 12 triple-doubles, trailing only Russell Westbrook (14). Jokic, who has a franchise-best 53 triple-doubles in his career, began the day tied with James Harden at 11.
Jamal Murray scored 21 points for Denver. Michael Porter Jr. had 18 points and seven rebounds.
Evan Fournier scored 31 points for the Magic — his second 30-point game of the season. Nikola Vucevic added 18 but was badly outplayed by Jokic, a fellow All-Star centre .
Down as many as 24 after allowing the first basket of the second half, Orlando made it a game in the third quarter. The Magic used a 20-4 run to get within eight and had a 30-19 advantage in the period. They eventually got as close as five two different times in the fourth.
Fournier said surprisingly getting traded following his second NBA season — from Denver to Orlando — taught him the business nature of the league. He said even though his name, along with that of teammate Aaron Gordon, has been bandied about in trade speculation of late, he’s totally ignored the chatter.
“Sometimes a deal might happen and then not (happen) at the last minute and you will never know it,” said Fournier, in his seventh season with Orlando. “It’s just the nature of this business, so there’s really no reason for me (to worry). My first couple of years here, there’s been rumours , but it’s nothing because I’m still here.”
Fournier and reserve centre Khem Birch will be unrestricted free agents at season’s end, while Gordon will have one more year remaining on his contract. The injury-ravaged Magic could potentially move on from those players since they currently sit well outside the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Nuggets: Coach Michael Malone became emotional before the game when talking about the 10 people killed in a grocery story by a gunman Monday in Boulder, Colorado. Malone named each of the 10 victims of a massacre that took place approximately 28 miles from downtown Denver. “For me, you get so caught up in the job and basketball … and we (coaches) get judged on wins and losses, but if you take a step back in (place) of one of those families, what do you feel?" Malone said. "I speak for everyone on our team that our thoughts and prayers — which are never enough — are with the Boulder community and all the 10 families of the innocent people who were murdered.”
Magic: Orlando extended its streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 1,100. That streak, which ranks fifth in the NBA, dates back to March 17, 2007. … Coach Steve Clifford said guard Terrence Ross (sore right knee) could return Wednesday. … Former Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, who helped the franchise reach the 2009 NBA Finals, sat courtside.
Nuggets: Play the Toronto Raptors in Tampa on Wednesday night.
Magic: Host the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
John Denton, The Associated Press