The Orlando Magic continued to struggle to find their shooting touch and it sank all of their game as they fell on the road once again.
Aaron Gordon knows the Orlando Magic need his scoring. He knows too he has not delivered for his team. He told reporters after the Orlando Magic’s loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday that he knew he had to be more aggressive or find a way to get a rhythm.
The start of the Orlando Magic’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers was seemingly spent trying to get Aaron Gordon going. He tried to attack the basket and Carmelo Anthony tied him up on one possession. On another, he tried to get to the basket and threw up a wild shot that was easily cleaned up by the Trail Blazers.
It was a struggle to get him going. He missed shot after shot. Gordon seemingly took the Magic out of rhythm. And the Blazers were taking advantage as the Magic continued to search for some offense.
A 9-9 tie in the first quarter in a game that seemed to be settling into an easy pace suddenly became an avalanche. The Blazers went on a 15-0 run, running off Magic misses — and there were a lot of them. There were open shots and shots around the basket that fell no good.
And Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum continually made them pay. Orlando cut back into what was a 20-point first-quarter lead, getting it to six at one point in the second quarter. But the Magic really never seriously threatened from there. Lillard and McCollum’s 3-point barrage kept the Magic well at bay in a 118-103 win at Moda Center on Friday.
Portland made 50.0 percent of its shots, including 17 of 36 from beyond the arc. Lillard scored 36 points, making seven 3-pointers on his own. McCollum added 31 points shooting from beyond the arc.
The Magic had no answer for that. The difference in the game was plainly in the shooting numbers. Orlando hit on only 36.8 percent of its shots, despite taking 108 field goal attempts, the most the team has taken since 2013. The Magic hit only 7 of 28 3-pointers.
It is just nearly impossible to win a game like that.
Orlando deserves some credit for cutting the lead down to six. But Evan Fournier missed a dunk — probably on a foul from Kent Bazemore — and then he missed a layup on a Hassan Whiteside block — that was actually a goaltend. The Blazers turned that into five points and a double-digit lead the Blazers never really gave up.
The Magic limp home with a 1-3 road trip and a lot of fundamental questions about their identity. Most of all, they head home looking for their offense and some stability to support a defense that is not pulling its weight.
The Orlando Magic are 12-17 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Magic return home to take on the Chicago Bulls on Monday.