Following two of their most impressive victories of the season, the Orlando Magic returned to action at the Amway Center on Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite not having their best stuff all night, the Magic were able to grind out a 102-94 victory.
Early on, the Magic were able to get whatever they wanted on the offensive end, feeding the ball into Nikola Vucevic possession after possession for easy buckets. Getting the ball to their man in the middle early and often helped open up driving lanes, helping to allow the Magic to score 22 of their 29 points in the opening quarter in the painted area. While their offense was playing at a high level, the Magic struggled some on the defensive end, allowing the Blazers to shoot 60 percent in the quarter.
In the second, Orlando's offense began bogging down, struggling to find quality shots consistently. Each team went through stretches of sloppy play, with the Magic ultimately coming out of the quarter ahead, thanks to a late push on both ends of the floor. Behind some late blitzing defense, along with strong finishes on the fast break, the Magic were able to take a small one point lead into the halftime break, despite all of their struggles in the quarter.
Out of halftime, the Magic picked up their intensity on the defensive end, suffocating the Blazers early. The Magic were also able to find some life in their offense, making their first three-pointer of the contest, to go along with parading to the free throw line for 10 attempts, making eight of them. Their success on both ends allowed the hosts to push their lead to as many as 11, before settling in up six, 74-68 after three quarters.
With a narrow lead, the Magic began to pull away from the Blazers, thanks to continued heightened play on the defensive end. They were also able to find a bit more of a rhythm on the offensive end, knocking down some big shots to keep their momentum going. In the end, the Magic were able to do enough to hold on for their third straight win.
Four Magic players finished in double figures, led by Nikola Vucevic's 25-point, 11-rebound double-double. Tobias Harris notched a double-double of his own, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds, with Elfrid Payton notching 19 points and six assists on the night. Victor Oladipo rounded out the group, finishing with 15 points, six assists and four rebounds.
C.J. McCollum led all scorers, finishing with 29 on the night. Damian Lillard continued to struggle against the Magic, finishing with 17 points and 10 assists. Allen Crabbe rounded out Blazers in double figures, finishing with 15.