Magic stay close for 3 quarters before falling to Trail Blazers
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nicolas Batum had 14 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists for his fourth career triple-double and the Portland Trail Blazers handed the Orlando Magic their fifth straight loss with a 110-94 victory Wednesday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge kept Portland in it despite a sluggish start and finished with 36 points and nine rebounds. The Blazers, who came in having lost four of their last six, avoided a season-high three-game losing streak.
Portland was coming off a 123-119 loss at Sacramento on Tuesday night. Damian Lillard had a career-high 41 points in the defeat, but was held to 11 against the Magic.
After struggling to pull ahead in the third quarter, Mo Williams hit a 3-pointer and Thomas Robinson made a layup to give the Blazers 90-82 with just over six minutes left.
Aldridge made consecutive jumpers, Lillard added a 3-pointer and Portland took a 97-87 lead. Batum extended it with a 19-foot-jumper.
Batum got his 10th rebound with less than a minute left and many in the crowd gave him a standing ovation. He also had a triple-double in a victory over San Antonio on Nov. 2.
Arron Afflalo had 22 points for the Magic, who were coming off a 101-81 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night to open a five-game road trip.
Orlando was without 7-foot center Nikola Vucevic, who sustained a concussion in the loss to the Clippers and is listed as day-to-day. The Magic shifted their lineup to make room for rookie Victor Oladipo, who made his 17th start of the season to the delight of a big contingent of Indiana fans who were at the game.
Portland led by as many as eight points early, but the Magic closed the gap and the score was knotted at 24 going into the second quarter.
Afflalo hit consecutive 3-pointers to cap a 16-2 run and the Magic took a 46-34 lead. Portland answered with an 11-3 run to pull within 49-45, but Afflalo’s 18-foot jumper gave the Magic a 51-45 lead at the break.
Aldridge led all scorers with 21 points in the first half, and his layup and free throw evened it at 53 early in the third quarter. But the Blazers couldn’t pull in front and the Magic answered by scoring the next eight points.
Aldridge hit a jumper from the top of the key to narrow it to 66-63 before Lillard hit a 3-pointer to tie it for the Blazers again with 2:40 left in the third quarter.
Again, the Blazers couldn’t get ahead until Wesley Matthews’ basket made it 76-75 with 10:45 left.
NOTES: The Blazers activated rookie guard C.J. McCollum, who made his NBA debut late in the first quarter. McCollum, the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft out of Lehigh, fractured his left foot before the start of the season. He was activated earlier this week, but did not play at Sacramento. He finished with two points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.