The Portland Trail Blazers staged a great comeback Wednesday night (Jan. 11) against the Orlando Magic, but it simply wasn't enough to overcome the three-point barrage that befell the Rose Garden. Orlando was hitting three-pointers left and right, totaling 16 in the game on just 27 attempts (59.3 percent). It was an amazing shooting display that nearly blew the Blazers out of the building.
Trailing by as much as 20 points in the second quarter and high double-digits in the third quarter, the team got within three points as the final moments started to tick off the clock. The rally came up just short though, as J.J. Redick hit four free throws in the last 20 seconds to keep the Magic in charge. The Blazers would out-score the Magic 36-22 in the fourth quarter, but still lost for the first time at home 107-104.
Seven players for Orlando made it to double-figures scoring, led by Redick off the bench with 17 points. Three players went for 16 and another for 15, showing how balanced the scoring attack was for the Magic. Dwight Howard would finish with just 13 points, but he also had 13 rebounds and 4 assists in the win.
The Blazers could have normally beaten a team with the performance that they had on Wednesday night (Jan. 11), especially with the team shooting 47.7 percent from the field. The Blazers were also much better than normal from three-point range, going 10-for-25 from beyond the arc. The team also went 12-for-13 from the free throw line, scoring 104 points in the loss.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Jamal Crawford were the big scorers in the second half to get Portland back into the game and kept working the give-and-go to try to create open shots. Both Crawford and Aldridge went 10-for-17 from the field, scoring 24 and 23 points respectively. Wesley Matthews had 17, Gerald Wallace had 15 and Nicolas Batum finished with 14 points off the bench.
Sometimes a team just catches fire like Orlando did in this game and there is almost nothing that can stop it. The Magic continuously hit contested three-pointers and even though there were some open shots from a slow defensive rotation by the Blazers, it's hard to take away credit from one of the most impressive shooting displays I have seen in the NBA. Five players made at least two three-pointers for the Magic, and two (Ryan Anderson and Hedo Turkoglu) made 4 of them.
Portland falls to 7-3 and will now head out on the Texas road trip. Next up is a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday (Jan. 13) and then the Houston Rockets host the Blazers on Saturday (Jan. 14).
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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He doesn't miss a game, and has high hopes that the Blazers can improve their roster during the offseason and come back even better in the 2011-12 NBA season.