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Magic push Trail Blazers to brink, fall short late 103-92

The Magic played with great energy in the second half, but came up short to the Blazers.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Following one of their worst losses of the season, the Orlando Magic had a chance to turn things around right away with a game in Portland against the Trail Blazers. The Magic, coming in losers of five straight, were handed another blow, with both Tobias Harris and Evan Fournier missing the game with injuries. The Magic brought forth great energy in the second half, but were just out matched against a good Blazers team, falling 103-92.

Like many of their recent games, the Magic came out sluggish and struggling on the offensive end. Orlando shot a woeful 5-of-22 in the quarter, to go along with six turnovers. Portland's second rated defense swarmed, forcing the Magic into contested shots on almost every trip, while blocking four Magic shot attempts in the quarter. Portland knocked down a set of three balls, aiding them in a 16-to-4 run to grab a 13 point lead. All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with eight in the quarter, with Nikola Vucevic leading the Magic with five.

In the second quarter, things began to look up some for the Magic. They began to settle down on both ends of the floor, and seemed to find a decent rhythm running their offense. After the Blazers grabbed a 19 point lead at 39-20, the Magic went on a 17-to-5 run to cut the lead down to seven late in the quarter. A bucket by Elfrid Payton late in the quarter cut the Blazer lead down to five heading into the halftime break. Aldridge continued to lead the way for the Blazers with 15. Nikola Vucevic notched a double-double in the first half, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the first 24 minutes of play.

Out of halftime, the Magic looked fresh and energized, jumping on the host Trail Blazers quick to tie the game up. Thanks to Victor Oladipo and Vucevic, the Magic grabbed a four point lead, before the Blazers answered with their own mini run to grab the lead right back. The two continued to go back-and-forth for much of the quarter, with neither able to grab a lead by more than two for the remainder of the quarter. Vucevic had a big quarter, scoring 13 points to push his game high total up to 28, just five off of his career high. Aldridge continued to be the only Trail Blazer to really contribute, finishing with 23 through three.

With the game up for grabs, the Magic needed to continue to play with the high energy level that allowed them to get back into the game. A Damian Lillard three gave the Blazers a five point lead with just over six minutes to play. Behind Vucevic, the Magic tied the game back up before the Blazers began to pick up their play, grabbing a six point lead with just over three minutes to play. Down by six, things were looking bleak for the Magic. However, they wouldn't go away easily, trading buckets with the Blazers on a handful of possessions before the Magic were forced to start fouling their Western conference foe.

Portland was carried for seemingly the entire night by Aldridge, who finished with a team high 25 points. Wesley Matthews scored 10 fourth quarter points, finishing with 18 on the night. Lillard, who struggled from the field, finished with 16. Myers Leonard chipped in 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, with Chris Kaman rounding out Blazers in double figures with 10.

Vucevic's monster night paced the way for the Magic. The fourth-year big man finished with a career high 34 points to go along with 16 rebounds. Oladipo was the only other Magic player in double figures, finishing with 18 on the night. Devyn Marble, making his first career start made a difference on the defensive end, netting five steals to go along with six points, three rebounds and two assists.