Surging Magic pound NuggetsJan 18, 2009 - 6:12 AM By Blake Redabaugh PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
DENVER (Ticker) -- After this week, just call the Orlando Magic the kings of the road.
The Magic defeated the Denver Nuggets, 106-88, on Saturday to complete a perfect four-game road trip and run their overall surge to seven games.
Hedo Turkoglu paced Orlando with 31 points, including a fadeaway from beyond the arc at the end of the third quarter that opened the lead to 79-70.
The Magic built their advantage throughout the fourth quarter, with the final margin being their biggest lead.
"Everybody thinks we're a good offensive team but it always starts on defense," Turkoglu said. "Rebounding and stopping people really opens up a lot of opportunities on the offense."
Orlando trailed 48-47 at halftime and was down 54-49 with 10:12 remaining in the third quarter after Chauncey Billups' jumper.
From there, the Magic and Turkoglu took control, finishing the quarter on a 30-16 run. Turkoglu's 3-pointer at the buzzer gave him 12 for the quarter.
"Turkoglu's shot at the end of the third took the wind out of our sail," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We didn't have a lot of weapons making shots tonight."
Denver, which finished a season-long, seven-game homestand at 5-2, would not get any closer.
Linas Kleiza provided a spark off the bench to lead the Nuggets with 26 points. Billups added 18 as Denver played its fifth straight game without All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who is nursing a broken right hand.
"It was frustrating because we were up one at the half and we hadn't played particularly well," Billups said. "You feel like hopefully you will start playing well at some point. They started playing better and put us away."
The Magic, who matched a season-high winning streak with their seventh straight win, completed an impressive 4-0 road trip by sweeping all of the Western Conference division frontrunners.
Southwest Division-leader San Antonio was the first victim when it lost, 105-98, last Sunday. Orlando handed the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Lakers a 109-103 defeat Friday, only the Lakers' third loss at the Staples Center.
In between those games, Orlando set an NBA record by hitting 23 3-pointers during their drubbing of the Sacramento Kings, 139-107, on Tuesday.
"I thought it was a very impressive road trip," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We're on a high right now. At some point, you're going to have to go through adversity in this league, and we haven't hit ours yet this year."
"We feel really good about ourselves," Magic center Dwight Howard said. "It was tough to play against the Lakers one night and Denver tonight but I'm glad we just got the win."
Howard powered his way to 14 points and 20 rebounds, Jameer Nelson scored 23 points and Rashard Lewis also netted 23. The starters accounted for all but two of Orlando's points.
"Each game we gain a little more confidence," Nelson said. "We just continue to play hard, no matter what."
DENVER 88 FINAL
Jan 17 11:36 PM
DENVER 70 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 17 11:06 PM
DENVER 48 HALFTIME
Jan 17 10:23 PM
DENVER 23 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 17 9:44 PM
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