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Trail Blazers beat Magic 125-119 in overtime

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Trail Blazers beat Magic 125-119 in overtime

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers handed the Orlando Magic their ninth straight loss with a 125-119, overtime victory on Monday night.

Wesley Matthews finished with 24 points, including a dunk that all but sealed it with less than a minute to go in overtime, and J.J. Hickson added 20 points and 15 rebounds for his 20th double-double this season.

Portland has won three straight and 11 of its last 14 games.

Aldridge hit a layup and a free throw that put Portland ahead 112-108 with 3:38 in overtime. After the Magic tied it at 112 on J.J. Redick's hook shot, Blazers rookie Damian Lillard made a pull-up jumper to reclaim the lead.

Lillard added a floater to extend it, and Hickson had a fast-break dunk for a 118-112 lead. Matthews punctuated the run with his dunk and Portland cruised the rest of the way.

Redick led the Magic with 29 points, while Arron Afflalo had 24. Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Orlando held a slim 97-95 lead but Matthews hit a 3-pointer that put Portland ahead and Nicolas Batum padded it with his own 3 with 3:01 left in regulation.

Jameer Nelson's rainbow 3-pointer kept the pressure on the Blazers, but Batum hit another 3-pointer to make it 106-101 with 1:14 to go.

Nelson made a pair of free throws and Nikola Vucevic added a jumper to close the Magic to 106-105. After Batum hit two foul shots with 16.8 seconds left, Nelson nailed a 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds left that tied it at 108 and sent the game into overtime.

It was the opening of a four-game road trip for Orlando, which has been mired in injuries along with its losses.

The team was again without power forward Glen Davis, who dislocated his left shoulder on Dec. 19 against Washington and has missed nine games. The Magic have not won a game without him. It was hoped that he may return at some points during the trip.

Point guard E'Twaun Moore missed his fifth game with a left elbow sprain. Reserve center Gustavo Ayon was not with the team because of a right thigh contusion.

Blazers rookie center Meyers Leonard missed his fifth game with an injured right ankle.

The Magic went up 19-12 in the first quarter after Andrew Nicholson's dunk. But Aldridge made a 7-foot jumper and Matthews added a 3-pointer to narrow it, and Aldridge's turnaround jumper tied it a 21. Victor Claver's pull-up jumper gave Portland a 25-24 lead going into the second quarter.

Aldridge had 12 points in the first quarter alone.

But the Blazers had trouble maintaining any kind of lead throughout the game. After going up 46-43 with 4:03 left in the half, Orlando's Josh McRoberts hit a 3-pointer that touched off a 14-2 Magic run. Afflalo capped it with a layup that gave Orlando a 57-48 lead at the break.

Aldridge's layup with 4:53 left in the third that gave Portland a 71-70 lead. Wesley Matthews extended it with a layup.

But again, it was short-lived. Reddick hit two straight 3-pointers to hand the Magic back the lead at 88-87 with 10:51 left in the game.

Aldridge's layup pulled Portland into a tie at 93-all with 6:52 left. Afflalo kept the Blazers at bay with a layup and Nelson added a pair of free throws for the Magic.

NOTES: The Blazers assigned guards Will Barton and Nolan Smith to their D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede. ... Orlando's Jameer Nelson had 12 assists, surpassing Scott Skiles as the Magic's all-time assists leader with 2,787.

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making players and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors were only going to hold Bradley Beal down for so long. After two so-so games to begin the Wizards-Raptors playoff series, the All-Star shooting guard was bound to find his way offensively and that arrival came in a Game 3 win on Friday night.

Beal was brilliant and much more in line with what he's shown in the postseason throughout his career. Game 2 was his worst playoff game as an NBA player, he scored only nine points. Game 3 was one of his best on the postseason stage, or at least one of his most timely and important.

The Wizards needed more from Beal to give themsevles a chance in this series. An 0-3 deficit would have been a death sentence. His production is so key to their success that head coach Scott Brooks and point guard John Wall met with Beal in between Games 2 and 3 to figure out how to get him going.

Whether that was the catalyst or not, the results followed. Beal poured in 28 points in 10-for-19 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He hit four threes, more than he had in the first two games combined.

Beal wasted no time to make an impact scoring the ball. His first points came on a quick burst to the basket where he stopped on a dime, turned around and banked it in. By the end of the first quarter, he had 12 points in 11 minutes.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, get shots that I wanted which is what they were going to force me to take," Beal said.

After Game 2, Brooks and Beal described how physical the Raptors were defending him. They were holding on to him and staying close, even when he wasn't moving off the ball.

Brooks saw a difference in how Beal responded to that in Game 3.

"Brad came out and was looking to go towards the basket and not just letting them hold him and going along with it. He didn’t want to dance with his opponent, he wanted to get away from them. That was a critical part of his success," Brooks said.

Beal's 28 points were as much as he scored in Games 1 and 2 together and just about what he averaged through four games against the Raptors during the regular season (28.8). By halftime of Game 3, Beal had 21 points on 8-for-11 from the field.

Beal hit two threes in the first quarter and another two in the second quarter. Several of those threes were set up by Wall, who used the meeting with Brooks and Beal to ask how he can set him up better as the point guard.

In Game 3, they were on the same page.

"I do think this man [John Wall] next to me, he creates and facilitates for the whole team and gets everybody easy shots," Beal said. "I talk to you guys all the time and I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a regular catch and shoot three just in a regular half court set. When he came back, I got like three or four off the bat."

What Beal did in Game 3 is what the Wizards are used to seeing from him this time of the year. Despite being only 24 years old, he has a strong track record in the playoffs.

Through 37 career postseason games, Beal is averaging 22.3 points, more than his career average of 18.7 in the regular season. In each of his previous three postseason runs, he has averaged more points during the playoffs than he did in the regular seasons leading up.

That production has earned him the nickname 'Playoff Beal' and when he goes off like he did in Game 3, good things usually happen. The Wizards are 10-6 in the playoffs during his career when he scores 25 points or more.

Wall also boasts impressive career numbers in the playoffs. When the Wizards have both of their stars playing at their best, they are hard to beat. With peak Beal on board, this series looks a lot different than it did not that long ago.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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