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Blazers Mash Magic, Keep Championship Hopes Alive

Portland cruises to an 88-71 victory over Orlando, and now waits to see if they will qualify for the Summer League Playoffs in Las Vegas with a 3-1 record.

2023 NBA Summer League - Portland Trail Blazers v Orlando Magic Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers, after a series of close contests to start their NBA Summer League schedule, cruised past the Orlando Magic on Thursday with an 88-71 victory in Las Vegas. The win improves the team to 3-1 in Summer League play, and keeps them alive for the four-team postseason over the weekend as they look to defend their title from last year.

All three 2023 lottery picks between the two teams were inactive for the contest—Portland’s Scoot Henderson and Orlando’s Anthony Black and Jett Howard. However, thanks to the efforts of summer sensation Michael Devoe, the Blazers hardly skipped a beat. Starting at point guard in place of Henderson for the third consecutive game (after taking a DNP in the opener), the former Georgia Tech star poured in 18 points to lead the way.

Though they got off to a bit of a sluggish start, Portland closed the first half on a 36-7 run from the 4:21 mark of the first quarter on. The Magic were held to just 19 points over the game’s first 20 minutes. Orlando’s offense fared a bit better in the second half, but the 26-point halftime deficit proved far too much to overcome.

While Devoe once again stole the show, displaying his ability to generate offense, a number of other Blazers turned in solid performances as well. Jabari Walker had a workmanlike double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and looks to be a bonafide rotation piece in the upcoming season. Duop Reath continued his productive run as the backup center, registering 12 points and five rebounds, along with three steals as he looks to make the team’s training camp roster.

Rookie Kris Murray’s up-and-down summer continued, as he was unable to carry his hot shooting touch from the team’s matchup with the Charlotte Hornets earlier this week into Thursday’s contest. He showcased his defensive capabilities with a pair of steals, but was just 1-7 from beyond the arc.

Fellow rookie Rayan Rupert registered a team-high 31 minutes and continued to establish himself a tenacious defender—without committing a single foul. Offensively, he remains a work in progress, going 1-7 from the field and committing three turnovers. He also pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds.

Shaedon Sharpe was unquestionably the most talented player on the floor, netting another highlight-reel dunk, but was limited to just 12 minutes as the team looked to get less established players more involved.

Finally, Ibou Badji had his best performance to date. The big man has been gaining confidence and shaking off the rust from a lost season as Summer League has progressed. It payed off against the admittedly small Magic roster, as he finished with six points, seven rebounds, and a pair of blocks over 22 minutes.

Box Score

The Blazers now await the results of tomorrow’s games to determine if they will take part in the Summer League Playoffs. The top four teams after the initial four-game schedule advance to a semifinal matchup on Sunday, with the championship game scheduled for Monday night. Tiebreakers will be determined by point differential.

Regardless, Portland will play at least one more game over the weekend, with the opponent and time to be announced after the playoff field is set.