If this wasn’t the Denver Nuggets’ finest moment of the season, it was a close second, exceeded perhaps only by a victory over Chicago last month.
And it had every right to be a disaster.
About 90 minutes after learning their leading scorer, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, had been suspended by the NBA for refusing to stand during the national anthem, the Nuggets dismantled the Orlando Magic, 110-93, Tuesday night.
Bryant Stith scored 23 points and rookie Antonio McDyess 19 as Denver knocked off the cold-shooting Magic.
“It was a distraction, but we just came out ready to play,” McDyess said of Abdul-Rauf’s suspension.
Denver outscored Orlando, 30-16, in the third quarter, opening as much as a 21-point lead, and the Magic got no closer than 11 points.
Anfernee Hardaway and Nick Anderson led Orlando with 21 points each.
Charles Barkley had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Phoenix Suns in a 98-88 victory over the New Jersey Nets at East Rutherford, N.J. . . . Alonzo Mourning scored 40 points for the Miami Heat in a 125-118 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Dallas. . . . Jerry Stackhouse scored 34 points as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors, 118-110, at Philadelphia. . . . Mookie Blaylock had 23 points in the Atlanta Hawks’ 115-89 rout of the Utah Jazz at Atlanta. . . . David Robinson scored 20 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 106-98 victory over the Golden State Warriors at Oakland.
Chicago Coach Phil Jackson said he will give Scottie Pippen a few days rest in practice to see if that helps an ailing back. . . . The NBA filed an unfair labor practice charge against the players’ union and a federal lawsuit against the union and some agents, accusing them of trying to interfere with the new collective bargaining agreement.