Faried helps Nuggets rally past Magic 108-105
DENVER (AP) — By sprawling on the ground after a loose ball, Kenneth Faried helped the Denver Nuggets steal a win.
Then again, his teammates expect nothing less from the high-energy forward.
Granted, Faried had an incredible night, scoring 19 points and grabbing 19 rebounds to lead the Nuggets to a 108-105 win over the slumping Orlando Magic on Wednesday. But that hustle play may have been the biggest contribution by the player nicknamed "Manimal."
Without it, well, who knows how this one would've turned out?
Trailing by nine early in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets roared back and tied the game at 99 on an alley-oop dunk by Faried. But he was just getting warmed up.
When Andre Iguodala missed a free throw on the next possession, Faried lunged for the ball on the floor and scooped it up, quickly calling time out.
Out of the break, Ty Lawson converted a three-point play with 1:27 remaining that gave the Nuggets the lead for good and sent them to their third straight win.
After the game, Danilo Gallinari made sure Faried's effort wasn't forgotten.
"Gallo came up to me and said, 'Thank you,'" Faried said. "Those are the plays that do go sometimes unnoticed. Tonight, it didn't."
No, it didn't at that.
This game had shades of Minnesota written all over it, too.
A week ago, the Nuggets were coming off an emotional victory as they snapped the Los Angeles Clippers' 17-game win streak. But they stumbled at home to a depleted Timberwolves squad.
Three days ago, Denver beat the Lakers in Los Angeles. Only, the Nuggets were on the ropes against the reeling Magic.
Faried turned to Lawson on the bench and simply said, "This can't happen.
"We can't have this letdown," Faried recounted. "Not tonight. We were all locked in and had to do what we had to do. We were able to escape with a win."
This was just like Nuggets coach George Karl expected — the Magic taking his team to the wire.
These days, Orlando just can't catch a break since Glen Davis went out with a sprained left shoulder. It was the Magic's 10th straight loss in the big man's absence.
"They're not as bad as their record," Karl said. "They've had a lot of games similar to tonight, where in the fourth quarter they were close to winning the game and the momentum somehow slapped them and they lost the game.
"I'm disappointed a little bit with the energy early in the game."
And the Magic feel the same way about what happened late.
"It's tough to lose games, no matter how many you lose in a row, even if it's just one," said Jameer Nelson, who led the team with 20 points. "Things could have went differently out there. We just have to stick together."
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