Magic top Blazers to end 12-game skidBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sun, Feb 10, 2013 10:20 PM EST
ORLANDO -- One victory can't make the frustration of so many losses go away, but it sure can change the mood for a night. The Orlando Magic snapped a 12-game losing streak Sunday night by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 110-104, providing some hope to an otherwise dismal season. The Magic (15-36) had lost 23 of the previous 25 games, but they played one of their most complete games of the season Sunday, getting stellar performances from several players. Reserve J.J. Redick, after missing three game with a sore shoulder, hit nine of 13 shots and scored 22 points. Guard Jameer Nelson had a career-high 15 assists and added 10 points. Center Nikola Vucevic had 19 rebounds and 17 points, and lightly regarded Gustavo Ayon matched his career high of 16 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out a career-high six assists. "There's no better feeling in the NBA than winning," Redick said. "All the losing can wear you down." The Magic outrebounded the Blazers 50-38. Orlando shot 50.5 percent from the field and had 34 assists while committing only 10 turnovers. The Magic never trailed after taking the lead midway in the second quarter. "It's good to win, no matter when you win," Nelson said. "You go out there prepared to win every night. We have a bunch of guys who know how to win, but we just have to continuing putting it together to win now." Portland was led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 25 points -- 18 points in the second half -- and six rebounds. Nicolas Batum had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Wesley Matthews added 17 points. Guard Damian Lillard, a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors, made only one of 16 shots and scored four points, but he had 12 assists. Despite Lillard's cold night, Portland shot 50.6 percent from the floor. The Blazers (25-26) lost their third consecutive game, dimming their hopes of working into the Western Conference playoff picture. The Blazers play the Heat in Miami on Tuesday night. "(The Magic) outplayed us at both ends," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "They deserved to win. Maybe they just play well against us. I don't know, but they executed well. They played harder than we did." It was the first time this season the Blazers lost when they shot 50 percent or better from the field. They had won the previous nine times. "We had a lot of people play well tonight," Vucevic said. "We needed a win badly. This hasn't been easy. It's tough to lose so many when we're playing so hard. This one feels good." The Magic led by as many as 13 points early in the second half, but Aldridge pulled the Blazers back into the game with 12 points in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 79-72 going into the final period. The Magic led 55-49 at halftime, riding a hot start from their reserves. Redick had 15 points and little-used Ayon had 10 points in the first half. Ayon also had an uncharacteristic four assists in the first two quarters. He scored the Magic's last three baskets of the half. He finished with his second double-double of the season. The Magic held a 28-19 rebound edge in the first half. The Blazers led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter. Orlando led by nine points in the second. Lillard, who was averaging 18 points, missed all six of his first-half field-goal attempts. He was even worse in the second half. Aldridge made only three of his 10 shots before intermission. NOTES: Magic rookie Andrew Nicholson was selected Sunday to replace injured Andre Drummond of Detroit in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. Nicholson will be joining Magic teammate Nikola Vucevic, but they will be on opposing teams. Nicholson had planned to spend All-Star Weekend at the beach. ... Nicholson, the 19th pick of the 2012 draft from St. Bonaventure, has averaged 7.6 points, but he leads the Magic in points per 48 minutes at 23.8. ... Lillard, from Weber State, has been the most highly decorated rookie in the NBA this season, and he will be watched closely during All-Star Weekend. Lillard became the first player in NBA history to score 900-plus points and make 100-plus 3-pointers in his first 50 NBA games. He came into Sunday's game averaging a rookie-high 18.4 points, having won Rookie of the Month honors in the Western Conference in November, December and January. ... Vucevic has had nine or more rebounds in 30 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA. ... Aldridge is the NBA's only player averaging at least 21 points and nine rebounds.
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