The Orlando Magic ended their 13 game losing streak with a big 110-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Let’s take a look at how the game unravelled:
Portland goes on an 8-0 run to open up a 13-6 lead which leads to a Magic timeout at the 6:24 mark of the quarter. J.J. Hickson was aggressive in attacking the rookie Andrew Nicholson and Hickson had six of Portland’s first ten points, while the Magic were led by Nicholson’s four points, and the only other bucket was a Maurice Harkless layup on an aggressive drive on the right wing.
J.J. Redick and Kyle O’Quinn check in 4:24 1st quarter with score 17-10 POR.
O’Quinn made an aggressive move to the paint on Meyers Leonard for a three-point play opportunity.
Gustavo Ayon checks in for Vucevic at the 2:36 mark of the first quarter. Ayon did not play in the loss to Cleveland on Friday night, but had played in eight games straight prior the DNP.
The Magic outscored the Blazers 12-9 following Redick’s arrival into the game, as the Magic guard scored five points in four minutes, including a nice three-point play after rolling off a screen and coming down the heart of the paint. Redick also set up E’Twaun Moore for an open jumper to close the quarter.
Redick had a hand in 7 of the Magic’s last 12 points to close the quarter and will be a very valuable trade chip in the next two weeks if they do indeed decide to deal him.
Portland shooting guard Wes Matthews hit 4-of-5 from the floor including two threes to score 11 points in the period. The Magic’s backcourt of Aaron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson shot 0-of-5 from the floor.
Portland 26, Orlando 22
The Magic begin the quarter on a 7-2 run and led 29-28 with 10 minutes to go in the quarter. Magic lead 39-35 at 5:44 mark of second quarter, as Gustavo Ayon made huge contributions (see player grades for more details).
Nicolas Batum hit three consecutive three-point shots, which led to the Blazers tying it 46-46, as Jacque Vaughn called timeout late in the second quarter (2:20).
The Magic backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Aaron Afflalo shot 0-of-5 from the floor after missing all five shots between them in the first quarter, as well.
But Ayon’s overall brilliance in addition to the strong play of Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson offset the poor shooting of the Magic’s starting guard, not to mention J.J. Redick creating a lot of offense for himself and others. The Magic were plus-12 with Ayon on the court and plus-10 with Redick.
The Magic still outscored the Blazers 33-23 in the quarter to lead at the half.
Orlando 55, Portland 49
Aaron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson finally got it going, as the tandem contributed four field goals, two of which were threes in the third quarter. Nelson was still just 2-of-13 with two minutes to go in the quarter, but had nine assists and was continually feeding Vucevic on pick and rolls.
The Trail Blazers closed with an odd lineup that featured Victor Claver and Joel Freeland, but the duo played pretty well with the Blazers three best players on the court with them.
Gustavo Ayon, Kyle O’Quinn and J.J. Redick all played big roles in the Magic’s third quarter performance as the Magic out-scored the Blazers 24-23 in the quarter.
Orlando 79, Portland 72
LaMarcus Aldridge sat out the first part of the fourth quarter, but the Trail Blazers hung tough with their star forward on the bench. Damian Lillard looked to try to take advantage of E’Twaun Moore, but finished the game 1-of-16 from the floor.
Lillard did have 12 assists, but credit strong defense on the part of Jameer Nelson, Maurice Harkless, Aaron Afflalo and E’Twaun Moore. The Magic threw a variety of defenders at Lillard and he struggled with it.
The Magic were outscored by one point in the period but closed the game well and were able to hold onto a lead. It’s encouraging moving forward, and Portland isn’t chopped liver. It’s a good way to end a bad losing streak. They led by as many as 13 in the fourth, but Portland closed the game on a 13-9 run.
Final Score: Orlando 110, Portland 104