The Orlando Magic snapped their nine-game losing streak Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers, 95-85. The win is Orlando's first against a team not named the Philadelphia 76ers since February 21st, a thrilling double-OT victory over the New York Knicks.
Nik Vučević contributed to the home team 22 points and 10 rebounds on an efficient 10-of-18 shooting performance from the floor. Reserve forward Tobias Harris scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, and he led Orlando with 11 boards of his own.
Vučević may have gotten the best of the Blazers, but their center had a solid night as well: Robin Lopez paced Portland with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Thanks largely to Victor Oladipo, Orlando limited All-Star point guard Damian Lillard to 17 points on 5-of-17 shooting.
Orlando jumped all over the Blazers early, building an 11-4 lead thanks to great interior play and passing. Portland responded by attacking the interior itself, to great effect, going on a 17-5 run, with 12 of those points coming in the painted area. Vučević even slammed in a rare transition dunk. Lopez proved particularly tricky for Orlando to cover, scoring 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting.
The Blazers took a six-point lead, their largest of the night to that stage, on a Wesley Matthews trey with 7:10 to go in the second quarter. From there, Orlando went on a 16-0 run to take some measure of control. The Magic did a better job pushing the ball in transition here. It also helped that Portland's offense became more perimeter-oriented during this Orlando run: five of their nine shot attempts were threes, and another three were long two-point jumpers.
A pair of Matthews free throws brought the Blazers to within two early in the second half, but Orlando responded with back-to-back triples from Harris and Maurice Harkless. And it continued to feature Vučević, particularly in pick-and-rolls against Lopez. Harris sank two three-pointers and aced another three-point chance in the post against Mo Williams, helping buoy Orlando's offense when the seven-foot center took a breather. The combination scored 19 of the Magic's 29 third-quarter points on 8-of-9 shooting.
The Magic closed the third period on a 5-0 run to take a 79-65 lead into the fourth, their largest lead in their last six games. A block from Kyle O`Quinn ignited a fast break which led to Orlando's final bucket of the period, an emphatic jam by Oladipo which got the Amway Center crowd to its feet.
The rout continued into the fourth as Orlando, and Harris in particular, beat the Blazers to seemingly every rebound and loose ball, helping it prolong possessions. The best example occurred early in the period on a possession which Doron Lamb capped with a three-pointer: the Magic missed three shots on the possession, which spanned 53 seconds of game time and included a Jacque Vaughn timeout. Lamb's trey gave Orlando a 19-point edge, its largest of the night.
Even with the Magic up 16 with 7:29 to play and the Blazers showing no signs of life--their shot selection and energy level looked dire--Vaughn didn't mess around, reloading with Vučević, Arron Afflalo, and Oladipo at that juncture to ensure Orlando didn't fritter away its lead. Portland only fell by 10, but don't let that margin fool you: the Magic kept the game well out of Portland's reach.