Magic Blaze in the Paint, Outlast Portland

By on December 19, 2015

 Evan Fournier drives on Portland's  C.J. McCollum in the second half. (photo Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

Evan Fournier drives on Portland’s C.J. McCollum in the second half. (photo Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

 

ORLANDO, Fla – The Orlando Magic (15-11) smothered the Portland Trailblazers (11-17) at home on Friday night, winning by a score of 102-94. The Magic won with defense and interior scoring, notching 52 points in the paint to the Blazers’ 18. It was the Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic show, as both big men scored 25 points while providing offensive stability to their team.

Vucevic started off early, taking four of the team’s first five shots. “There were some plays early in the game that we ran for me and I was just trying to be as aggressive as I can to get to the rim and score,” said the Montenegrin center. He would go on to score 10 points and grab four rebounds in the first quarter.

Tobias Harris also had an impactful first quarter – collecting 13 points, two steals, and two boards of his own. Harris and Vucevic accounted for 79% of the Magic’s points and 66% of their rebounds in the period.

Harris would finish the night with a very effective line: 12 rebounds, three steals, and his 25 points came on just 13 shots. He also hit one of only two three-pointers that the Magic made on the night. Head coach Scott Skiles had this to say on his emerging forward, “I think Tobias is having a good year. He is dependable, we know pretty much night in and night out what we’re going to get.”

After a strong first quarter, the Magic began to come apart in the second. The team shot 36% in the period, while committing four turnovers and six fouls. Both Harris and Vucevic cooled off, and the Magic led by only one at halftime.

Despite the poor shooting, Orlando was able to hang their hats on solid defense all night. They stopped the bleeding in the second quarter by limiting the Blazers to only 31% from the field, which made their offense look a little better by comparison.

After halftime, the Magic’s defense continued to carry the weight. The Blazers were still being bullied in the paint, and could only muster a one-point lead throughout all of the second half. Orlando tallied three more blocks, 10 more steals, and six fewer turnovers than Portland by the end of the game.

Orlando’s offense, which hit 14 of their 24 threes on Wednesday, struggled mightily from beyond the arc against Portland – going 2 of 15. This led them to attack the hoop in the second half on Friday, drawing 17 free throws in the final two quarters. Free throw shooting became the mainstay of a Magic offense that still managed a respectable 46% shooting when they weren’t getting fouled.

In the end the Blazers had no answer for the Magic inside, and were outlasted in a defensive war of attrition.

Also of note, point guard Elfrid Payton and shooting guard Evan Fournier both went down with minor injuries during the game. Fournier dislocated the pinky of his non-shooting hand in the first quarter, but returned shortly thereafter. Payton twisted his ankle just before halftime, but started the second half and remains in line to start on Sunday.

This win marks the third in a row for Orlando, who as of Friday night own the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern conference. The Magic will be home for Christmas with three home games in the upcoming week. First, they will take on the Hawks at 6 P.M. on Sunday, then the Rockets at 7 P.M. on Wednesday, before taking on their rivals from Miami at 7 P.M. on the day after Christmas.

Portland Trail Blazers
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Noah Vonleh, PF 12 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 -10 4
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 29 5-6 4-5 2-2 1 3 4 1 0 0 1 2 -6 16
Mason Plumlee, C 30 2-6 0-0 0-0 1 9 10 1 0 1 4 6 -14 4
Damian Lillard, PG 36 4-15 2-9 9-9 1 2 3 10 1 0 6 4 -10 19
C.J. McCollum, SG 39 11-19 3-7 2-3 0 2 2 6 2 0 2 3 -3 27
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Meyers Leonard, PF 22 2-6 0-2 0-0 1 6 7 0 0 0 2 2 -1 4
Allen Crabbe, SF 24 5-11 2-7 2-2 0 4 4 1 0 0 2 1 +4 14
Maurice Harkless, SF 10 0-1 0-0 1-2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 +1 1
Ed Davis, C 22 0-2 0-0 1-6 2 5 7 0 0 0 1 2 +4 1
Gerald Henderson, SG 16 1-3 0-1 2-2 1 3 4 1 0 1 1 0 -5 4
Tim Frazier, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION
Luis Montero, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION
Pat Connaughton, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
32-73 11-32 19-26 7 35 42 21 3 2 19 23 94
43.8% 34.4% 73.1%
Fast break points:   7
Points in the paint:   18
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers):   19 (23)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.

Orlando Magic

STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Channing Frye, PF 23 1-4 0-3 0-0 0 4 4 3 0 0 1 3 +12 2
Tobias Harris, SF 36 9-13 1-3 6-7 3 9 12 2 3 0 0 0 +9 25
Evan Fournier, SF 25 1-7 0-4 0-0 0 1 1 4 2 0 0 0 +4 2
Nikola Vucevic, C 35 12-22 0-0 1-2 4 7 11 1 1 2 1 2 +5 25
Elfrid Payton, PG 36 4-9 0-1 11-17 3 3 6 3 2 1 4 5 +8 19
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Aaron Gordon, PF 12 0-1 0-0 2-2 1 4 5 0 0 0 0 1 -1 2
Jason Smith, PF 13 2-5 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 +3 4
Andrew Nicholson, PF 25 3-9 0-2 2-3 2 2 4 0 0 0 1 2 -4 8
Victor Oladipo, SG 35 7-14 1-2 0-0 0 4 4 6 3 1 6 4 +4 15
Dewayne Dedmon, C DNP COACH’S DECISION
Shabazz Napier, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION
Mario Hezonja, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
39-84 2-15 22-31 13 35 48 19 11 5 13 18 102
46.4% 13.3% 71.0%
Fast break points:   15
Points in the paint:   52
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers):   13 (10)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.

 Flagrant Fouls: 1 PORTLAND ( McCollum 1 )
 Technical Fouls: PLAYERS:None -TEAMS: ORLANDO (1) -COACHES:None
 Officials: Tony Brown, Courtney Kirkland, Gediminas Petraitis
 Attendance: 17,156
 Time of Game: 2:15

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