ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Glen Davis scored 29 points, J.J. Redick added 21 and the Orlando Magic sprinted out to an early lead before holding off the Denver Nuggets 102-89 Friday night.
Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 23 points, with Ty Lawson chipping in 12. But Denver struggled offensively, unable to dig out of a 20-point first-half hole.
Friday marked the Magic’s season-opener and first one in eight seasons without All-Star Dwight Howard, who was traded this summer in a multi-team deal involving Denver. The win was also new Magic coach Jacque Vaughn’s first regular-season NBA victory.
Orlando did suffer a setback, though, with forward Hedo Turkoglu leaving the game with a broken left hand.
The Nuggets dropped to 0-2 on their season-opening three-game road trip.
Denver trimmed a 21-point first-half Magic lead to eight points late in the third quarter, but struggled in the fourth as their offensive sets stalled and the Magic were able to get some easy shots on their end.
Gallinari was also the only Denver player to consistently make it to the free-throw line, as Orlando’s defense was able to contain the usually active Andre Iguodala, who was held to nine points on 3 of 10 shooting.
Injuries were a problem in the preseason with several Magic players missing part or the entire exhibition schedule with various ailments.
Turkoglu’s injury means Vaughn will have to get creative to fill his slot in the starting lineup, with no true small forward healthy enough to immediately fill-in.
Rookie Maurice Harkless, who was acquired in the Howard deal, would seem to be the obvious candidate. But Vaughn said that he only recently was cleared for full-contact practice following sports hernia surgery and will need a few before he’s ready for game action. He is currently day-to-day.
Orlando led 58-37 at the break, sparked by Davis and Redick, who each had 15 first-half points.
Despite a roster dealing with several early-season injuries, Vaughn substituted liberally in the early going, playing nine different players.
The fresh legs helped the flow of the offense, with the Magic moving the ball well and getting assists on 16 of their 24 field goals for the half.
The Nuggets, who scored just 38 first-half points in their season-opener, managed only 37 in the opening 24 minutes on Friday.
Their early shooting woes were also present for the second straight game, connecting on just 36 percent (16 of 44) as Orlando built as much as a 21-point lead before halftime.
Notes: North Carolina coach Roy Williams sat courtside Friday to support Vaughn, who is the first former Williams’ player to become an NBA head coach. Vaughn played for Williams in college at Kansas. …Orlando opened the season without backup big man Gustavo Ayon (sprained left thumb), swingman DeQuan Jones (strained hip muscle) and F Al Harrington (knee). …Nuggets coach George Karl said C Timofey Mozgov (left knee strain) ran during shoot around on Friday, and could be ready for their home opener Tuesday against Detroit…The Magic improved to 15-9 all-time in season openers.
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