The Denver Nuggets turned in a dominating 112-87 victory over the Orlando Magic Friday night to pick up their second win in a row.

Orlando’s biggest lead of the game never got bigger than two points as the Nuggets turned in a 25-point victory to push their home record to 8-3 on the year. Denver’s record sits at 12-7, which is currently good for fifth place in the Western Conference and puts them just a half game out of a four-way tie amongst the top of the West.

With Denver playing the Oklahoma City Thunder on the second night of a back-to-back, let’s dive into five takeaways on the Nuggets solid performance against Orlando.

Mason Plumlee continues to play extremely well for Denver

In his second full season with the Nuggets, Plumlee could arguably be turning in his best year as a pro. His play has been huge in the Nuggets revitalized bench unit, he has constantly given the Nuggets energy off the bench all season, and Friday nights game against Orlando was no different. Plumlee finished the night with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists and collected his first double-double of the season while also adding in a highlight reel play in the process.

That behind the head no-look pass was the cherry on top of what was a great offensive night for Plumlee. Whether it was going to work in the post, slamming home an alley-oop dunk, or just making the right pass, Plumlee continued to prove his value to this Nuggets team with his best performance of the season.

It was not just offense though as Plumlee also had two blocks and two steals for the Nuggets on the defensive end of the floor.

The Dikembe Mutombo finger wag was in full effect against the Magic as Plumlee made his presence known on the defense end of the floor and added a little flare in the process. In a game highlighted by big plays on both ends of the floor for Plumlee, the Nuggets back up big man posted his best performance of the season in what has already been a very solid 19 games for him so far this season.

Nuggets start slow offensively 

The Nuggets struggled to score the ball in the opening quarter against the Magic as they shot just 8-of-21 from the field and just 1-of-6 from behind the three-point line. Most of the Nuggets players struggled to score in the opening 12 minutes, but none more than Gary Harris as he started 0-of-6 shooting from the field. Harris came into the game shooting 44 percentage from the field and definitely started cold in a game where the Nuggets just could not score early in the opening period.

It was not as if the shots Denver was taking were poor though as they constantly generated good looks in the opening quarter of the game. A lot of Harris’ looks were clean shots at the rim, but just like the rest of the team, the shots were just not falling.

Not every player struggled in the first quarter though as Paul Millsap had eight points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field and was sporting a headband in the process.

The hot start by Millsap was big for Denver as it allowed them to have a 21-19 lead after the first quarter even though they had little to no offense to start the game. Denver’s struggles to score the ball early in games this season continues to be a trend though and its something they can not afford to do when they play a tough opponent. In games where Denver plays top tier teams, they will almost certainly half a tough hill to climb if they start as poorly as they did in the Magic game.

Paul Millsap continues to play well on both ends of the floor 

After getting a cut above his eye against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Millsap was forced to wear a headband against the Magic, but his game certainly showed no ill effects from that injury. Millsap started the game by scoring the Nuggets first four points of the night as he asserted himself in the post in a way that Orlando had no way of stopping.

Millsap finished the opening quarter with eight points and added on four points in the second quarter to give him a tie with Trey Lyles for the Nuggets team lead in points at halftime (12). That number would not make the biggest jump in the second half as Millsap finished the night with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field to go along with seven rebounds and two assists.

It was still a very solid stat line for Millsap as he was able to rest most of the second half with the Nuggets firmly in front. Just like in Plumlee’s case, it was not just offense for Millsap as he also chipped in two blocks and one steal on the defensive end of the floor.

That block is the same thing Millsap’s been doing all season. The weak-side block is becoming a bit of a specialty for 13-year veteran. Millsap’s found a way to turn defense into offense as of late and his performance against the Magic was just another example of that development.

Trey Lyles plays well off the bench for Denver

Coming into the game, Lyles was averaging a career high 10.1 points per game this season, but still had not scored at the clip you would expect from him coming into the year. That changed on Friday night though as Lyles had one of his best games of the season scoring a game-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. Lyles also chipped in three rebounds and an assist in his 22 minutes off the bench.

You could tell from the moment he stepped on the floor that Lyles was looking to score tonight as he was continuously driving the basketball and looking to score inside. It paid off for Lyles as he scored 12 points in the first half on an efficient 5-of-9 shooting from the field.

It is important that Lyles is looking and getting his shots inside considering how he continues to struggle from three-point range. Lyles went 0-of-3 from three-point range in the first half, and followed that up with going 1-of-2 from behind the arc in the half number two. Coming into the game, Lyles was shooting just 23 percent from deep, which is a career low for him and a huge drop from the 38 percent he shot from distance last season.

It was encouraging to see Lyles put in such a good game offensively, but you would certainly hope his three-point shot will improve moving forward. If his three-point shot is falling it will only help his scoring totals and will also help make all those makes all those drives to the basket easier with the defender having to respect his perimeter shooting. All in all, it was a solid night for Lyles and it gives him something to build on moving forward.

Nikola Jokic posts another one of those weird, but effective stat lines

Against the Magic, Jokic posted another one of those stat lines that makes you double-check the box score when it is all said and done. Jokic’s first half stats tell a pretty good story as he had eight assists, eight rebounds, and zero points on 0-of-2 shooting from the field. That was just the beginning for Jokic’s line though as he finished the night with six points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in 22 minutes of action.

En route to his 12th double-double of the season, Jokic missed the mark on his second triple-double of the year by just four points. That is the third time its already happened this season where Jokic just missed out on a triple-double because his point total fell short. It was the second time in a row that Jokic has accomplished it as his 2-for-7 shooting from the field left him just short on Friday night.

Even with his struggles to score, Jokic still got his teammates involved in other ways and had a solid defensive game with two steals. The improvements Jokic has made on the defensive end of the floor continue to flash for Denver’s much improved defense this season. As Jokic continues to not put up those big scoring numbers, it is a good sign that he is still affecting games in more ways than one. That is big if the Nuggets want to have success moving forward, and it is something Jokic has certainly brought to the table as of late.