Portland Trail Blazers Friday night and lost for the second time in..."/> Portland Trail Blazers Friday night and lost for the second time in..."/>

Magic Blown Out in Portland

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The Orlando Magic were dominated by the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night and lost for the second time in a row and the sixth time in eight games. The Blazers, playing without leading scorer Brandon Roy, took it to the Magic from start to finish. Martell Webster was on fire and led the Blazers with 24 points. Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson each scored 15 points in the loss.

The Magic got off to a terrible start. They shot just 5-of-17 (29.4%) from the field, 2-of-7 (28.6%) from the free throw line and 2-of-8 (25%) from beyond the arc. The Magic turned the ball over four times and Portland scored six points off of those turnovers. The Blazers didn’t shoot lights out, but they were effective – they went 10-of-22 (45.5%) from the field. Orlando lacked energy and was simply outworked by the Blazers in the quarter. The Blazers also dominated the boards in the opening period. When Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy was interviewed after the first quarter, he said “We were terrible in the first quarter. The whole team played poorly.”

Unfortunately, the opening quarter was a sign of things to come.

The Magic’s second unit entered the game and provided some good energy. After Ryan Anderson got an offensive rebound and a basket, the Magic cut the lead to 31-26, but they couldn’t keep it up. The starters really let the Magic down. They accounted for just 6 of Orlando’s 18 second quarter points. Portland dominated the rest of the quarter, outscoring the Magic 21-6 and building a 20-point halftime lead. At the half, Orlando’s offense was shooting 13-of-37 from the field, 2-of-17 from downtown and 4-of-9 from the free throw line. The Magic had seven turnovers that led to nine Blazers points. The Blazers continued to outwork the Magic throughout the first half – they grabbed 30 rebounds (64% of all available rebounds).  Portland took care of the ball incredibly well, turning it over just once in the first half. Andre Miller was able to do whatever he wanted offensively. He scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and dished out 5 assists. The Magic were clearly frustrated and at one point, Dwight Howard got into it with Steve Blake. It was arguably the worst half of basketball that the Magic have played all season.

Early on in the third quarter, the Magic looked much more energetic. After Portland struck first in the quarter, the Magic scored the next 10 points to cut the Blazer lead to 12. The Blazers answered with a 7-0 run of their own. Orlando shot the ball much better in the quarter and even made four 3-pointers, but it seemed like every time the Magic hit a big shot, the Blazers would make a 3-pointer of their own. The Magic were more active on defense but Portland made some tough shots, so even though the Magic grabbed 9 of 13 available rebounds, shot the ball better and limited their turnovers, the Blazers still had an 18-point lead entering the final period.

The fourth quarter was similar to the third. Every time the Magic hit a tough shot or started to make a run, the Blazers were able to answer with a big shot. The Magic cut the lead to 95-83 with just under two minutes to play, which was the closet the game had been since the first half. Portland closed out the game for a 102-87 victory.

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Dwight Howard wasn’t much of a factor. Orlando’s big man only attempted 7 shots, making 4. He did a pretty good job of getting to the free throw line, but could not take advantage – he was just 3-of-10 from the line. The only positive was that Howard committed just one turnover. He finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 turnovers and he was visibly frustrated throughout the game.

Orlando’s entire starting lineup was awful. Vince Carter played just 17 minutes, was not aggressive at all and finished with just 5 points on 1-of-7 shooting. 6 of his 7 attempts were 3-pointers. Sure, Vince was coming back from an injured shoulder, but his willingness to sit back and take long jumpers rather than attack the basket has been a problem all season.

Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson scored 30 points on a combined 14-of-25 shooting, but several of those buckets came in garbage time. Matt Barnes didn’t play particularly well and couldn’t keep up his recent scoring burst, but had his usual stat-filling game with 8 points and 7 rebounds.

The bench, which has been very good lately, played well in spurts, but could never keep it up for an extended period of time. They combined to score 33 points. J.J. Redick led the way with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

Brandon Bass earned another DNP – Coaches Decision.

The Magic had a huge edge in height and seemingly should have had a huge advantage in rebounding, but that was not the case. Portland collected 42 rebounds to Orlando’s 38, but that doesn’t tell the real story. In the first half, while Portland was building their lead, they grabbed 64% of the available rebounds. For the game, Orlando missed 38 shots and Portland had 34 defensive rebounds. Keep in mind Portland had no true Center. Starting Center Greg Oden is likely out for the season and his backup, Joel Przybilla is also out for the season.

Orlando’s defense didn’t play that bad, but still allowed the Blazers, who rank 22nd in points per game to put up 102 points. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the way Portland shot the three. The Blazers were just 30-of-66 (45.4%) on 2-point shots but were 11-of-21 (52.4%) from downtown. Martell Webster made five of those 3-pointers. Steve Blake hit four shots from beyond the arc. It seemed like every time the Magic might make a run and begin to close the gap in the second half, Webster or Steve Blake would hit a timely 3-pointer. The Blazers also turned the ball over only three times.

Portland, like many Magic opponents do, had success running the pick-and-roll. Andre Miller had his way with the Magic. He scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting and dished out 9 assists. Backup Point Guard Steve Blake was excellent off of the bench. He scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting (4-of-6 from downtown) and had 6 assists.

Orlando’s offense, on the other hand, was terrible and is a much bigger concern than the defense. The Magic shot 47.9% from the field, but went just 7-of-30 from beyond the arc. Orlando also did a good job of getting to the free throw line, but couldn’t do anything when they got there. They shot just 10-of-20 from the stripe (mostly thanks to Howard’s 3-of-10 performance). Orlando also turned the ball over 12 times, leading to 17 Portland points.

At times, the Magic look lost on offense, have poor ball movement and go through long spurts without scoring.

Game Notes:

  • There weren’t many opportunities in transition. Orlando had 6 fast break points to Portland’s 2.
  • Portland had five players in double figures.
  • The Blazers had 23 assists to just 3 turnovers. Orlando had 17 assists and 12 turnovers.
  • Jason Williams (+4), Marcin Gortat (+3) and Ryan Anderson (+1) were the only Magic players to finish with positive +/- numbers. No Magic starter was better than -12.

Final Thought: The Magic have some major problems and right now, no one seems to have a solution.

Next Up: It doesn’t get any easier. The Lakers will host the Magic in a rematch of the NBA Finals on Monday night.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)