AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
5-9 FG | 3-12 FT | 4 AST | 13 REB | 13 PTS | +6
With the Magic getting plenty of scoring from the supporting cast, Howard didn’t have to carry a heavy load offensively. Orlando ran a heavy dose of 4-out/1-in offensive sets for the big fella throughout the game, either allowing him to create for himself or his teammates. Some of his assists were direct results of kick-out passes from the post for spot-up threes.
6-11 FG | 4-7 3P | 1 STL | 9 REB | 16 PTS | +13
In the fourth quarter, the Portland Trail Blazers elected to go small with a 5-man unit of Jamal Crawford, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Gerald Wallace, and LaMarcus Aldridge. As a result, Anderson didn’t play in the period but when he was in the game, he was productive. He rebounded well and led Orlando with four three-pointers, though his defense on Aldridge could have been better.
6-11 FG | 4-6 3P | 6 AST | 3 REB | 16 PTS | +2
Turkoglu was huge for the Magic in the fourth quarter as the Blazers made a furious run. Turkoglu ran a 3/5 pick-and-roll with Howard on consecutive possessions late in the period, making a layup and three-pointer. Those five points allowed Orlando to increase their lead from three to eight with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Turkoglu is fortunate his brilliance wasn’t undermined.
7-9 FG | 2-2 3P | 5 AST | 4 REB | 16 PTS | +4
This is going to sound like a broken record but when Nelson goes, so go the Magic. He was aggressive on offense, looking for his shot throughout the game and aiding Orlando in their scoring barrage in the first three quarters. However, he made two mental errors late in the fourth quarter, turning the basketball over twice and almost costing the Magic the game.
|Portland Trail Blazers
Yes, Orlando was playing on two days rest and yes, Portland was playing on a back-to-back. That being said, the Blazers didn’t look like a team with weary legs, as exhibited by their comeback in the fourth quarter. Crawford seems to enjoy tormenting the Magic, as he was excellent coming off the bench. Aldridge was equally superb. If only Portland had a healthy Greg Oden.
Eddy Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.