The Blazers were somewhat led by LaMarcus Aldridge (25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), Wesley Matthews (17 points) and Nicolas Batum (19 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists). Damian Lillard suffered through one of the worst shooting nights of his career, going 1-16 (0-8 from three) for 4 points with 12 assists. No Blazer reached double-figures in rebounding, which is appropriate since Orlando demolished them on the boards.
First Half: Wonderful, then awful. Behind hot shooting, the Blazers zoomed to a quick 11 point lead after 8 minutes, with Orlando looking flat-footed and unprepared. But somehow they prepared in one timeout. Because afterward, they outscored the Blazers by 20 to take a 9 point lead themselves. Orlando scored inside at will, and dominated the offensive rebounds, while the Blazers (in particular Lillard) simply could not put the ball in the hoop. Portland's defense was so poor, twice an Orlando player ran coast to coast for a free layup as the Blazers looked around lost. The Orlando bench was a dream for the Blazers, as JJ Redick and Gustavo Ayun combined for 25 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists in the first half. However, thanks to three quick Batum three-pointers, the Blazers tied the game. However, just over one minute later, they were down by 9 again. Thanks to a nice play late, the Blazers held the deficit to 6 at halftime.
Not ready to say Redick is GOAT, But he’s in the discussion, right?
Third Quarter: It took two minutes for the Orlando lead to reach double-figures. The lead reached 13 before the Blazers started chipping away, reaching single digits halfway into the quarter. However, Orlando stopped the run, forcing Blazers Coach Terry Stotts to bring in Joel Freeland (with Victor Claver) in an attempt to change things up. And it worked, as the Blazers cut the lead to 5 upon his arrival. It was 7 after three.
I'm going to go look for some chocolate
by bustabucket 4:28 PM PST
Chocolate isn't even helping me get through this game and chocolate always works.
by bustabucket 4:37 PM PST
Fourth Quarter: Freeland and Luke Babbitt cut the lead to 4 early on. But the Blazers made multiple mistakes, and Orlando's lead was quickly 9 again. The Blazer offense found a groove, but the Magic just kept sinking shots. Good shot? Bad shot? Didn't matter, it was going in. Plus they were getting lucky bounces. They still held an 8 point lead at the halfway point. But Orlando poured it on, pushing the lead to 13. Portland cut the lead to single digits with 3 minutes left, but it wasn't enough, as the Magic simply swatted away the Blazers like they were a fly. Off to Miami, and perhaps to work on their defensive rebounding.
Box score | Portland Trail Blazers tickets via TiqIQ
Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight. In the meantime, check out the upcoming Blazers schedule. -- Tim