Howard, Magic get by Blazers

The Orlando Magic’s reputation as a free-wheeling offensive team

took a beating Saturday night, and coach Stan Van Gundy was

actually happy about it.

“Every team in this league will win when they’re having a

great offensive night, but what separates teams is when you can dig

out wins when you’re not having a good night,” Van Gundy said after

his team scratched out a 92-83 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I was really proud of how hard our guys defended and stayed

on the boards,” Van Gundy added. “We need to play better, but there

were a lot more positives than negatives out of this game.”Dwight

Howard has 12 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks, and Rashard

Lewis added 15 points for the Magic, who had 19 turnovers and shot

42 percent. They compensated by limiting Portland to just two field

goals and seven points in the final seven minutes of the game.

Orlando went on an 11-0 run during that stretch to break open

a game that was tied at 76 with 6:53 left in the fourth.

“We’ve got to win the ugly games, too,” said Magic forward

Matt Barnes, who didn’t get off the bench until late in the third

quarter and was a spark during the decisive fourth-quarter run. “We

didn’t have it going offensively so you’ve got to buckle down and

play better defense, which fortunately we did.”

Barnes drew the unenviable assignment of slowing down Brandon

Roy, who finished with 33 points, 21 of them in the second half.

Roy scored 15 of Portland’s 21 points in the third quarter and kept

his team afloat until Barnes got him under control in the final

quarter.

The Blazers couldn’t find anyone to pick up the slack.

LaMarcus Aldridge, the team’s second-leading scorer, had just three

points on 1-of-6 shooting.

“It felt like a winnable game, but Orlando made the plays in

the fourth quarter and got the stops they needed,” Roy said.

“LaMarcus is a big part of what we do and we couldn’t get him

going. You have to give them credit.”

“We just didn’t execute,” Portland Coach Nate McMillan said.

“We didn’t move the ball well and then we didn’t defend.”

Jason Williams scored 13 points and J.J. Redick chipped in 12

as Orlando overcame a sluggish first half to beat Portland for the

sixth time in the last seven meetings.

Andre Miller scored 16 for Portland, but the Trail Blazers

ran out of energy in the second half. Portland shot just 34 percent

after halftime and was outrebounded 54-35 by the Magic.

Roy finally stopped the Magic’s late run with a pair of free

throws, but the Blazers hit just five of 18 from the field in the

fourth.

The Magic had their own offensive struggles in the first

half, committing 11 turnovers and shooting just 34.2 percent.

Williams hit four of five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers,

but the rest of the Magic backcourt was a combined 3-of-21,

including Vince Carter’s 1-for-11.

The Blazers scored the first eight points of the game but

couldn’t sustain much offense beyond that — getting only three

assists on 17 field goals in the first half.

But Roy had 12 points and Jerryd Bayless added 10 to help

Portland take a 44-39 lead into the break.

The Magic stayed close with four 3-pointers in the third,

including one at the buzzer by Redick that tied the game at 65.

Notes: Magic PG Jameer Nelson, out for the past

month with a torn meniscus in his left knee, worked out with the

team Saturday. He will practice Sunday and could return Wednesday

against Houston. … Roy has now scored 23 points or more in nine

straight games. … The Trail Blazers had only seven assists on

their 29 field goals in the game. … Howard had has 35th career

game with 20 or more rebounds.