PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—With the game on the line, Orlando coach Brian Hill drew up the right play and Grant Hill executed it perfectly.
Grant Hill scored off the inbounds pass with 1.5 seconds left to give the Magic a 91-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Dwight Howard had 18 points and 16 rebounds and Hill scored 16 points for the Magic, who led nearly the whole game until a late Portland comeback.
“That was pretty much Coach,” Hill said. “He drew up an awesome play. He told to come off the screen and go back door and I was pretty much open.”
After that, Travis Outlaw’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer missed.
“This is a game we should have won,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “But it comes down to listening and learning from it.”
Zach Randolph had 28 points and 13 rebounds and keyed Portland’s second-half comeback, but the Blazers fell for the ninth time in 11 games.
Jarrett Jack had 14 points and five assists for Portland. Outlaw added 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Magic led by nine points in the fourth quarter. Portland, using a lineup that included reserves Sergio Rodriguez, Outlaw and LaMarcus Aldridge, clawed back in it and tied it at 87 on two free throws by Aldridge with 1:42 remaining.
Outlaw scored with 1:09 left to give the Blazers their first lead. Hill picked off Rodriguez at midcourt and made two free throws to tie the game. Portland tried to hold for the last shot, but 20-year-old rookie Rodriguez missed a runner, leaving the door open for Hill’s game-winner.
“Those are the types of games you have to win,” Nelson said. “When you go into other buildings, they have the fans and some momentum. You have to play well.”
Aldridge had 10 points and five rebounds for the Blazers.
Orlando led 26-19 before Jack beat the first-quarter buzzer with a 3-pointer. The Magic led 51-42 after two free throws by Hill and were up by seven at the half.
The third quarter belonged to Randolph, who had 16 points in the quarter and scored to get the Blazers within two. Dooling converted a three-point play to make it 72-67 at the end of the third.
Jack outplayed Nelson, who came in averaging 14.4 points but was limited to one point and five assists. He was 0-of-4 from the field.
Jack, a second-year pro from Georgia Tech, was coming off a career-high 21-point game against Indiana, when he held Jamaal Tinsley in check.
The banged-up Blazers got some good news on the injury front. Power forward Raef LaFrentz plans to return from a heel injury for Tuesday’s game at Detroit and rookie Brandon Roy (heel) took off the protective boot he’s been wearing after an MRI on Friday. The Blazers, however, won’t bring Roy on their upcoming six-game road trip, and don’t expect him to practice until Dec. 16.
Brian Hill and Howard were named Eastern Conference coach and player of them month, respectively, on Friday. … The Magic won at the Rose Garden for just the second time in eight trips. Orlando is 4-12 against Portland all-time.