If it was in fact the final game for some members of the Orlando Magic, they went out on a high note.
In the Magic’s last game before Thursday’s trade deadline, Orlando had a 113-95 victory over a shorthanded Blazers team that had already made a significant trade after sending C.J. McCollum to the Pelicans.
Rumors are already swirling around Terrence Ross and that, along with chatter about fellow veteran Gary Harris, should continue leading up to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline.
The win in Portland came at a cost as Jalen Suggs exited after the first quarter with what the team called a sore right Achilles. Suggs initially left the game shortly after being fouled while attempting a layup about five minutes in. He returned with 2:22 remaining and closed the first, but went to the locker room after and never returned.
“We just wanted to monitor it,” Jamahl Mosley told reporters after the game. “He’s doing OK, though.”
Outside of Suggs’ early departure, it was a strong start for the Magic on their four-game West Coast trip. After a weekend in Orlando where they had back-to-back dismal offensive performances, the Magic found their rhythm from the outside, connecting on 19 of 38 three-point attempts and overall shot 48.9 from the field.
That started early as the Magic went 7-for-14 from deep in the opening quarter, with Gary Harris making 3 of 4 attempts and Wendell Carter Jr. hitting a pair. The Magic drained three triples in a row late in the first - one by Carter Jr. and two by Harris - during a 9-0 run that opened a 29-22 lead.
The lead grew to 17 in the second as the hot shooting continued and the Magic clamped down defensively, holding the Blazers to 28 percent shooting and 19-second quarter points. Orlando shot 11 of 19 from deep in the half to take a 62-47 lead into the break.
The Magic saw their lead get cut down to four in the opening 4:12 of the third quarter when a fadeaway by Anfernee Simons made it 70-66. Cole Anthony responded with a three that sparked a 9-0 Orlando run to push the lead back to 13. Again the Blazers chipped away, making it a one-possession game following a three by Greg Brown III to make it 81-78. The Magic went into the fourth up by four.
Franz Wagner opened the fourth with a three that began an 8-0 run for a 91-79 lead. One final run by the Blazers brought them within five before Carter Jr. hit a pretty turnaround jumper for a 97-90 lead.
Wendell Carter Jr slipping into a no hesitation turnaround jumper— Mavs / Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) February 9, 2022
Incredible shooting flash in a year full of a shooting breakout #MagicTogether pic.twitter.com/asKfRwp8k6
The Magic closed the game with a three-point barrage for a 14-2 run that blew it open. It was Orlando’s first win in Portland since January of 2017, snapping a 10-game losing streak.
That streak was snapped thanks to efficient shooting, strong ball movement (34 assists on 44 field goals), and some strong all-around games.
Anthony had 23 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Carter Jr. had 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Wagner added 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Chuma Okeke had 18 points (4 of 7 from three) and five rebounds. Mo Bamba had 13 points and nine rebounds. Harris finished with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from deep. Ross was quiet in what could be the final game for the Magic’s longest tenured player, scoring two points on 1-for-5 shooting in 29 minutes.
The Magic’s road trip continues on Friday in Utah. The team could look a little different when they get there.