----- Trail Blazers overcome a slow start to defeat the Orlando Magic 99-94 Wednesday night at Moda Center.
Tonight felt a lot like Friday's loss to the Brooklyn Nets. The Blazers fell behind early, lacked energy, and we didn't see the same urgency the team displayed in Monday's blowout win over the Denver Nuggets. The Magic lead 33-24 at the end of the first quarter and extended their lead to 47-34 with 5:44 to play in the first half.
Portland (8-6) responded with a 17-0 run behind a lineup featuring Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Shabazz Napier, and Jusuf Nurkic to take a 51-47 halftime lead. Napier scored 11 points in the first half and finished the game with 19 points. Lillard led the Blazers with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists and McCollum poured in 24 points on 8-for-16 shooting.
The Magic would respond with a 10-5 run to start the fourth quarter taking an 81-80 lead on a Evan Fournier three-pointer with 6:52 remaining, but the Blazers quickly responded with a 9-2 run to regain control of the game.
Orlando (8-7) got 22 points from Fournier and 16 points off the bench from Jonathon Simmons. The Magic finished the night with a 10-2 edge in fast break points and they held their own on the glass matching the Blazers with 41 rebounds on the night.
Next up- Portland plays at Sacramento on Friday night. Game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM.
Chad's Take- Props to Shabazz Napier. In this last four games, he has scored a total of 50 points. Tonight he scored 19 points on 5-for-5 shooting from downtown. The Blazers have been looking for a fourth scorer, so maybe Shabazz can be that guy off the bench. I guarantee you that Coach Stotts will give him time off the bench basked on how well he has been playing. The 17-0 run in the second quarter was one of the best stretches of basketball I have seen the Blazers play this year. Now they just need to find a way to play with that type of urgency at the start of every game.