Orlando (13-20) at Portland (11-24)

Fair Currently: Portland, OR
Temp: 51° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EST Fri Jan 13, 2006
  • TV: SUN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The struggling Orlando Magic will take the floor at the Rose Garden without suspended guard Steve Francis when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers.

Francis was suspended indefinitely by the Magic on Thursday for what the club said was “conduct detrimental to the team.”

The team will have no further comment on the specifics of the suspension, Magic spokesman Joel Glass said. He did reveal that the former All-Star made the team flight from Seattle to Portland but left the team after he was suspended in the morning.

Glass said Francis will meet with coach Brian Hill and Magic executives after the team returns from its West Coast road trip Sunday or Monday. Orlando visits Sacramento on Sunday, then hosts Washington on Wednesday.

Francis is averaging 16.6 points, second on the team, and a team-high 5.4 assists.

The Magic lost 113-104 in Seattle on Wednesday night, the team’s fifth loss in its past six games. Francis scored 10 points in that game and 10 the night before in Orlando’s 90-73 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, and criticized the team’s play after that game.

Francis was also suspended for three games by the NBA late last season for kicking a courtside photographer at Seattle. Orlando fined Francis an undisclosed amount last season after missing a practice following the All-Star break.

He was fined $25,000 after using profanity during a halftime interview at a nationally televised game while playing for Houston in March 2004. He also was suspended one game without pay for missing the Rockets’ flight to Phoenix in February 2004.

Jameer Nelson led the Magic with a career-high 32 points Wednesday, and Hedo Turkoglu added 16 before fouling out. Orlando was unable to stop Seattle’s Rashard Lewis, who finished with 45 points.

“We didn’t want to double team a lot because of their perimeter shooting and Rashard was a tough matchup for us tonight,” Hill said.

The Blazers had lost six in a row and were coming off an embarrassing 29-point loss to Miami on Sunday before coach Nate McMillan used a heart illustration to convince them they had a win in them.

The pregame art lesson worked and the Blazers snapped their skid with 113-103 victory Wednesday over the Los Angeles Lakers.

“He explained what it was all about,” guard Steve Blake said of McMillan. “He just said you’ve got to play with a lot of heart and a lot of passion. You’ve got to want it.”

Portland shot 52 percent from the floor and produced a season-high point total, surpassing the 100-point mark for the first time at home, and just the second time this season.

Juan Dixon had 27 points and six assists for Portland, which ended Kobe Bryant’s streak of consecutive games with at least 45 points at four. The NBA’s leading scorer settled for 41.

Zach Randolph, who didn’t start because he was late for a shootaround, finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season.

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