While the Orlando Magic appear to have a playoff spot locked up, the Denver Nuggets are still biting their nails in hopes of making another postseason charge.
The two forces will collide tonight in the Magic Kingdom, where the Nuggets have lost two straight and 17 of their last 18 visits. Orlando is 29-16 all- time versus Denver (20-3 at home).
Denver will resume its seven-game road trip tonight and is coming off Friday's 99-88 win at Charlotte thanks to a solid performance from Arron Afflalo. He had 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Corey Brewer added 17 points in a reserve role for the Nuggets, who hold the eighth spot in the Western Conference and have the same record with Houston (28-24), which is seeded seventh.
"We needed this win, it's a long road trip," Brewer said. "We have to get another win coming up Sunday."
Al Harrington posted 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Ty Lawson scored 14 to go with 10 assists in the win. The Nuggets are 2-3 on the road swing and 13-12 away from the Rocky Mountains this season. They will visit New Orleans to close out the trek on Wednesday.
The Nuggets are 14-2 against Eastern Conference opponents this year, going 7-1 on the road in those challenges.
Orlando has dropped two in a row since winning three straight and nine of 13 games, and sustained a 100-98 loss versus the Dallas Mavericks the last time out on Friday at Amway Center.
Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki banked in a turn-around jumper over Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu with 5.9 seconds left, lifting the defending champions to victory with a game-best 28 points. Jameer Nelson had 24 points, while Ryan Anderson added 21 and Dwight Howard finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds for his 42nd double-double of the season.
"You've got to get shots when you go down the floor and we didn't," said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.
The Magic, seeded third in the East, are 18-9 at home. Howard (back) is probable for tonight and forward Glen Davis is questionable versus the Nuggets with a sore hamstring.