Magic 103, Nuggets 97
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)
J.J. Redick was hanging at his house playing video games with Ryan Anderson about a month ago when the topic of playing time arose.
Trying to teach his teammate not to get frustrated, Redick pulled up his game logs on the Internet from his first two NBA seasons to show all the games he didn't play.
``We had quite a chuckle,'' Redick said. ``You see like 17 ... in a row.''
Redick again showed how far he's come, and Anderson might not be far behind.
He was 8-for-15 shooting and played a career-high 46 minutes after Carter sprained his right big toe. The Magic also got a big boost with 19 points from Anderson for their 13th win in the last 15 games.
Redick got another lift at halftime, too, when he saw his former Duke team about to clinch a spot in the Final Four. But he pointed to his minutes - and what he did with them - as his proudest moment of the night.
``I think sometimes as a player when you know you're not going to come out, you don't force things and you move the ball and you make the extra pass,'' Redick said.
Denver simply crumbled.
Carmelo Anthony had 26 points but was held without a field goal in the fourth, and Chauncey Billups finished with 18 points for the struggling Nuggets, losers of four of their past five games.
``I don't think that it's cause for concern,'' Anthony said. ``It's just that it's happening right now, the last nine or 10 games of the season. But I don't think anybody on our team should be concerned about anything.''
The Nuggets have started 1-3 on their five-game road trip - all without coach George Karl, who missed his 11th game since announcing that he had been diagnosed with throat and neck cancer. Denver is 6-5 during without Karl.
``We've just got to stick together,'' 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.''
The Magic broke away from a tight game with an 18-7 run late in the fourth quarter. The spurt included a jumper by Redick that rolled around the rim four times until sinking, with Redick laughing it up all the way back down court.
It was that kind of night - after it began with a twist.
Carter left 95 seconds into the game with the injury, two days after he sprained his right ankle in a win over Minnesota. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy doesn't expect Carter to miss much time.
With backup small forward Mickael Pietrus also nursing a sprained right ankle, Van Gundy called it ``one of our best wins of the year.''
``I'm really happy and proud of our guys,'' he said. ``I thought that our fight and competitiveness was tremendous.''
Carter's replacement faired just fine.
Redick filled up the stat sheet with an all-around game that he has rarely shown in the four years since he left Duke. Not only was his shooting sharp in this one, he was directing the Magic's offense.
Redick zipped one overhead pass from the arc to a cutting Matt Barnes underneath the hoop. He reached around a defender to bounce pass to Marcin Gortat for a dunk, and had several other hard drives that he kicked back out for shots.
Even Van Gundy couldn't help but relish in Redick's success.
``I thought the key to J.J.'s performance was that rest I gave him at the beginning of the game, that 1:35, so he could be fresh,'' Van Gundy joked.
Redick helped the Magic go ahead 52-51 after the second quarter in a what was a topsy-turvy half for both teams. The Nuggets went ahead by 10 after scoring eight straight points to start the third quarter, but the Magic came back quickly behind Redick and Anderson's 3-point shooting.
The pair combined to go 7 for 12 from beyond the arc.
``I think we showed that we can win with a bunch of different lineups,'' Anderson said. ``There's not a lot of teams, maybe none, who can do that.''
NOTES: Redick's previous career highs were seven assists, six rebounds and 45 minutes. ... Anthony and Billups were called for technical fouls in the second and fourth quarters, respectively. Rashard Lewis and Redick missed each free throw for the Magic. ... Nuggets F Kenyon Martin (knee) sat out his 13th consecutive game.