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Nuggets log fifth win in a row
DENVER -- After facing Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant on Thursday night, Denver Nuggets forward Quincy Miller was ready for anything on Saturday.
He proved he was up to the challenge. Not that he was ever worried.
"I don't think confidence is ever going to be a problem for me," the second-year player said.
It wasn't against the Orlando Magic. Miller had a career night, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to help the Nuggets rout the Magic 120-94.
Guards Randy Foye and Evan Fournier scored 18 points each and forward Kenneth Faried had 17 points and nine rebounds for Denver, which has won five straight after dropping eight in a row.
"The way we're passing the ball and the way we're shooting, everything is going well for us right now," Fournier said.
Forward Tobias Harris had 22 points and nine rebounds and center Glen Davis scored 20 points for the Magic, who have lost seven straight.
"It was a challenge the entire night," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "Their ability to get downhill and get in transition provided problems for us."
The Nuggets have suddenly found a rhythm after dropping eight straight. Foye has been one of the catalysts, but a renewed focused throughout the roster has Denver (19-17) back above .500.
Faried is one of the players who has played better during the past week. Given the order to "just play" by the coaching staff, Faried has turned in five strong performances. He is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds during that time.
Denver expects Faried's consistency, but what Miller can bring is still unknown. He provided a spark in place of injured forward Wilson Chandler.
"He's getting opportunities and he's making the most of it," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "He is getting more and more confident the more time that he gets out there on the floor. This is great for him."
The Nuggets, after eking out a win against Memphis, have won the last four games by double digits, including a convincing victory over Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
They've come together in the wake of injuries and the absence of guard Andre Miller, who is away from the team after a shouting incident with Shaw during a loss to Philadelphia on Jan. 1.
A situation that could have splintered the Nuggets has helped them.
"What happened with Andre, everybody realized we have to get together to win games," Fournier said.
On Saturday night, they faced a banged-up and overmatched Orlando team that was playing without leading scorer Arron Afflalo. He suffered a strained right foot against Sacramento on Friday night and was in a walking boot before the game.
Orlando also lost guard Jameer Nelson to an undisclosed injury during the game.
"It's real frustrating just because we've been losing, a lot of our guys are hurt right now," Harris said. "We have to stay together as a team. Stay positive."
Afflalo probably couldn't have done much against his former team. The Nuggets raced out to an early 15-point lead after a 12-0 run, then pushed it to a 23-point advantage early in the second quarter.
The Magic (10-27) got within 15 on several occasions, but Foye scored the last three points of the first half to give Denver a 69-47 lead at the break.
The Magic got within 16 a few times, but Denver consistently answered. Faried provided one highlight when he blocked Harris' dunk attempt with Denver leading by 18.
Denver, which lost forward Darrell Arthur to a left groin strain in the third quarter, led by as many as 36 points in the fourth quarter.
"I challenged our team to show some killer instinct tonight," Shaw said. "They responded and came out and showed that they had killer instinct. They got them down and kept them down pretty much the entire night."
NOTES: Nuggets F Wilson Chandler missed his second straight game with a strained left groin. Chandler was injured in Tuesday night's win over the Boston Celtics. Coach Brian Shaw said Chandler is improving, but the team is being cautious. ... Magic G Arron Afflalo was in a walking boot after suffering a right foot strain in Friday night's loss at Sacramento. Coach Jacque Vaughn said there is no timetable for his return. ... Nuggets F Anthony Randolph was unavailable with a sprained left ankle. ... The Magic were held below 100 points during each game of their six-game losing streak. Entering Saturday, they were averaging 85.7 points in the six games.