Orlando Magic Grades: Portland Trail Blazers 115, Orlando Magic 112

Nikola Vucevic will remain a vital part of the Orlando Magic's offense. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nikola Vucevic will remain a vital part of the Orlando Magic's offense. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic had their chances down the stretch but could not execute and saw turnovers doom their chances for a win.

Final. 112. 38. 115. 34

The Orlando Magic had themselves dialed in for another close game. They were on the chase and ready to overtake the Portland Trail Blazers, withstanding a 3-point barrage from Damian Lillard.

Evan Fournier helped key a 10-point lead that drew the Magic to within one point of the Blazers. And a defensive stop had Orlando in transition, Evan Fournier with two players running with him against two backpedaling defenders.

Fournier hesitated some as he weighed his options coming down the lane, seemingly unsure where to go. When Evan Fournier finally released the pass to his left to D.J. Augustin, Damian Lillard had already read his eyes. The steal was easy.

Lillard’s runner on the other end was not easy that gave Portland a little more room.

That turnover was one of four the Magic would commit in the final two minutes of a 115-112 loss to the Blazers at Moda Center on Wednesday. Orlando could not track Lillard at the 3-point line throughout the game, they struggled to corral rebounds and fouled often.

In one play it all came to a head as the Magic trailed by three points and saw Jonathan Isaac block Damian Lillard’s layup, only for Lillard to collect the rebound and Nikola Vucevic to knock him over going for the rebound.

Orlando’s late-game execution simply was not good enough. Outside of missing two wide-open 3-pointers, the Magic struggled even to get shots.

Of course, Orlando had control of the game for long stretches, building as much as an 11-point lead in the third quarter. That is when Lillard went off. He made 10 of 15 3-pointers, leaking out in transition where a somewhat disorganized Magic team struggled to find him. When Lillard gets going, it is hard to stop him. And his third-quarter shooting helped charge a 40-point effort that put Portland in control.

But Orlando seemed equally up to the task to answer. The team tightened up its defense and got stops to climb slowly back in the game. A late 10-0 run made it a game down the stretch. The Magic continue to show their willingness to fight for a full 48 minutes.

They just have to find a way to play effectively for the whole game. And down the stretch Wednesday night, they needed a little calmer execution.

EVAN FOURNIER. C+. <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic

<a href=. C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. B+

B. <a href=. F. Orlando Magic. JONATHAN ISAAC

B+. With Jonathan Isaac in the starting lineup and Aaron Gordon out, that moved <a href=. PF. Orlando Magic. JARELL MARTIN

B+. The Portland Trail Blazers can score. That much has always been clear. Their defense has always been the part that has been the source of their greatest inconsistency over the years. This game was no different on that front. The Blazers gave up 52 percent shooting to the Magic.<p>But the margin for error is a lot smaller when Damian Lillard can go off at any point. The Blazers adjusted and found him at every turn when the Magic went through their typical offensive lulls. That is how you build a 40-point quarter and flip a game on its head.</p><p>The Blazers dominated the offensive glass and that helped cover up mistakes. That is part of what Portland does to build its success. The Blazers locked down defensively when they needed to. It was hardly a clean game for them. But they got the job done even with some shaky moments at the end.</p>. 13-8. 5th West. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Jonathon Simmons still searching for his shot. dark. Next

The Orlando Magic wrap up their West Coast road trip against the Phoenix Suns on Friday.