Magic Escape Portland Victorious Despite Late Drama
The Orlando Magic tried their absolute hardest to blow a 20-point 4th quarter lead in Portland, but fortunately did not succeed. The Magic, which led by as many as 23 points, pulled off an important 107-104 road win against a Trail Blazer team which was previously unbeaten at home.
With the Magic up by 20 at the beginning of the 4th quarter, Portland ratcheted up their defensive intensity and chipped the big Orlando lead down to only 3 points with 2:38 remaining. A driving Hedo Turkoglu layup, Hedo three-pointer and a Dwight Howard free throw raised the lead back to 9 with a minute remaining, seemingly ending the Blazer comeback.
But wait! A Portland offensive rebound and Gerald Wallace putback keeps Portland on life support. Jameer! Quick! Resuscitate the Portland crowd with two consecutive turnovers! Awesome job, CHECK. Magic defensive, give up two consecutive layups! GOOD JOB. And just like that, in 19 seconds, that lead was back to only three points.
Fortunately, with only 28 seconds left Portland was forced to foul for the remainder of the game. The Magic clinched the game by going 5-6 from the free throw line and survived their stay in PDX.
As scary and painful as the 4th quarter collapse may have been to watch, the first three quarters showed the Magic playing without a doubt their best basketball of the young season.
Brilliant ball movement and extremely hot shooting, allowed 7 of the 8 Magic rotation players to score in double figures. The Magic made 14 three-pointers through 3 quarters and most of those made 3′s came off dribble penetration and extra passes in the half court offense. Ball movement and getting everyone involved in the scoring has been a consistent struggle for Orlando this season.
J.J. Redick won the Magic scoring title for the night with 17 points. Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu all had 16.
Despite the ugly 4th quarter, the Magic will leave Portland a satisfied team. Coming into tonight, the Blazers had won 16 of their last 17 games at the Rose Garden. It may have taken miracle first half shooting to overcome the previous stat, but nonetheless, it has been overcome.
The Magic are right back in action on Thursday night when they face off against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, CA. Game time is set for 10:30 PM EST and will be televised nationally on TNT.