Orlando Magic

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum hitting on all cylinders is winning formula

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum hitting on all cylinders is winning formula

It’s all about making shots. The Trail Blazers made them and the Orlando Magic didn’t Friday night in Moda Center.

The Blazers made 50 percent of their shots from the floor, including 47.2 percent with 17 made threes, to take care of business in a 118-103 win. The Magic, meanwhile, shot just 36.8 percent from the floor and only 25 percent of their 28 three-point attempts.

It was Portland’s third straight win and the overall quality of the Blazers’ play has improved during that stretch. Damian Lillard was asked if the improvement has been greater on offense or defense.

“I think both,” he said. “Even when we weren’t playing well, we’d find a way to score points. We’ve always found a way. But I think our offense has improved even from that because of the way we’re defending. We’re not playing against a set defense as often if we’re able to get the ball and kind of push it and get out and they’re off balance. We’re playing against something different than what we started off the season playing against every night – just a set defense because we were getting scored on every time.”

The Trail Blazers had Lillard and CJ McCollum rolling on the same night – something that hasn’t happened this season as often as it has in the past.

Both guards shot at least 50 percent from the field and from three and the only other time they’ve done that in the same game this season was Dec. 5 vs. Sacramento. And, for the second straight game, each scored in the 30s.

“Those two guys do that against everybody,” Orlando Coach Steve Clifford said. “They’re a little bit different. They are hard to (defend).”

Lillard was 13-21 and 7-13 for 36 points while McCollum was 12-21 and 4-8 for 31.

It was only the third time in franchise history when a pair has gone for 30 apiece in back-to-back games.

“I think we’re defending better,” McCollum said. “That’s the most important thing for us. Offensively, we usually figure things out. We’ve got to do a better job of staying locked in and engaged at the defensive end, preventing second-chance opportunities and those little things. We’ve been doing that better the last three games.”

The defensive rebounds were a problem again for the Trail Blazers, as they allowed the Magic a season-high 18 offensive rebounds. Portland survived this game in large part because the Magic were able to turn those into just 19 points, missing 14 of their 21 second-chance shots.

The Blazers got 10 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks from Hassan Whiteside and that led to a 43-30 rebounding edge for the home team.

Portland won the game while getting just 9:24 out of Carmelo Anthony, who banged knees with somebody – he wasn’t sure who – and had to leave the game in the second quarter. But afterward, he didn’t seem to think it was serious.

“I intend to play tomorrow,” he said with a smile.

The Trail Blazers play host to Minnesota Saturday night in the second of a rare back-to-back home situation.

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers cruise to victory over Magic behind Lillard's 36

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Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers cruise to victory over Magic behind Lillard's 36

The Orlando Magic got out to a slow start against the Trail Blazers Friday night. The Magic shot just 18.5 percent from the field through the first 12 minutes of action.

With the Magic’s poor shooting first quarter, the Blazers jumped out to a 31-13 lead.

However, the second quarter was all Magic, all the time.   

Portland’s second unit had a tough time slowing down Orlando’s bench, and had an even harder time scoring themselves.

The Blazers then clamped down in the third quarter and cruised to their third straight victory.

FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 118, MAGIC 103 

Here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s win:

1.  Lillard doing it all

Damian Lillard showed of his offensive versatility against the Magic -- three-pointers, floaters, finishing at the rim. Lillard’s efficient night from the floor helped Portland take care of business. 

2. Melo goes out with knee contusion 

The Trail Blazers announced as the second half came to an end that Carmelo Anthony is questionable to return with a left knee contusion.

He played the first nine minutes of the game, logging five points and six rebounds. At the 8:14 mark of the second quarter, Melo was seen limping after he took a three-pointer from the corner.  

3.  McCollum carries scoring load with Melo out

The Blazers got a boost from CJ McCollum in the second half. After scoring 11 points in the first half, McCollum went on a tear after the break. McCollum was also aggressive on the glass. He tallied eight rebounds on the night.  

Up Next: The Trail Blazers host the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night with Portland playing in its second leg of a back-to-back. The Blazers and T-Wolves will tip-off at 7:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Trail Blazers say Carmelo Anthony is questionable to return

Trail Blazers say Carmelo Anthony is questionable to return

As the second half came to an end, the Trail Blazers announced that Carmelo Anthony is questionable to return with a left knee contusion.

Melo played the eight minutes of the first quarter and one minute in the second quarter, logging five points and six rebounds.

At the 8:14 mark of the second quarter, Melo was seen limping after he took a three-pointer from the corner.  

He was not on the court for second half warm-ups.

Anthony is averaging 16.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game this season with the Trail Blazers .

We will update this post as more information becomes available.

Trail Blazers Pregame: Coach Stotts' expectations tonight & his 80s perm

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Trail Blazers Pregame: Coach Stotts' expectations tonight & his 80s perm

It’s 80s night at Moda Center tonight!

Get ready for big hair and bright colors as the Blazer and Magic battle it out.

Before the Trail Blazers and Magic tip-off at 7:00p.m. tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed how he expects Orlando’s height to be a challenge on the boards, and he also mentioned that Nikola Vucievic and Johnathon Issac could give them matchup problems.

Coach Stotts also added that he would describe himself in the 80s as a guy with a perm and a gold chain. 

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Mario Hezonja (back spasms) is available and Nassir Little (back spasms) is OUT for tonight's game vs. Orlando.

MAGIC INJURY REPORT:

Al-Farouq Aminu (right knee; meniscus tear), BJ Johnson (two-way) and Josh Magette (two-way) are OUT.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

Hassan Whiteside has 34 blocks over the last nine games (3.78 per game), representing the most blocks in the NBA during that span. The next closest player has 21 blocks (Jakob Poeltl). Whiteside has blocked at least two shots in each of the last five games.

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Magic tonight at 7:00pm

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How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Magic tonight at 7:00pm

The Trail Blazers (12-16) tip-off the first of a back-to-back at Moda Center Friday when they host the Orlando Magic (12-16).

Orlando wraps up its current four-game trip Friday night as the Magic look to snap a two-game losing streak.

On the other side, the Trail Blazers are looking to win their third straight.

You can watch the game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass?

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of tonight's game:

4:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

6:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

6:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

7:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Magic

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

And, full coverage of the game from Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

QUOTABLE

I’ve just been telling him, just get every rebound. Just eat up the glass, be that guy. I think his ability to rebound is one of the best I’ve seen. So, if we’re a team struggling to rebound the ball, we need to be encouraging him to do that,” -- Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard on Hassan Whiteside after Wednesday's win

REPORT: Al-Farouq Aminu agrees to deal with Magic

REPORT: Al-Farouq Aminu agrees to deal with Magic

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, free agent forward Al-Farouq Aminu has agreed on a three-year deal worth $29 million with the Orlando Magic.

The deal with the Magic reportedly includes a player option in the final year.

Aminu had several teams reportedly interested in him as free agency loomed, including the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and Orlando Magic.

The 28-year-old’s four-year, $30 million contract with Portland came to an end this summer, and Aminu hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. He started in all 81 games that he played in this past season.

Aminu averaged 28.3 minutes a game, along with 9.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 43.3 percent field goal shooting and 34.3 percent from deep.

The loss of Aminu could mean the Blazers will turn to young big man Zach Collins at power forward. He has long been thought of as the future of the Blazers, but his future could be now.

 

Check back at NBC Sports Northwest for more on free agency and the Trail Blazers as more news becomes available.

Inside the mindset of Damian Lillard the shooter

Inside the mindset of Damian Lillard the shooter

When Damian Lillard struggles from the outside for a few games, the end result is always the same:

Somebody, sometime soon, is going to have to pay for that.

“That’s how it works,” Lillard said after Portland’s 115-112 win over the Orlando Magic Wednesday night. “Especially when the teams are trying to stop YOU. I know every night teams are trying to stop me so I’m not going to have the luxury of easing my way into the game, getting great looks.

“My first look might be a deep three and it might be contested at the end of the shot clock. Where if I have great looks, I might go four for seven or four for eight, it might be three for ten because only three of those were good looks,

“You have to accept that part of it. Shooters are shooters. You might be missing, but at some point you’re going to rum some off.

“You have to keep shooting and keep believing.”

And that’s Lillard’s makeup and why he’s a first-team All-NBA player. And why it’s so important to have a player of that caliber on a team.

The Blazer captain tormented the Magic for the second time this season. Lillard stepped up to almost single-handedly halt a three-game Portland losing streak by setting a franchise record for three-point field goals in a game (10), in 15 attempts en route to his second 41-point game vs. the Magic this season.

Lillard had those 10 threes after the third quarter, but didn’t know the exact number. The league record for threes in a game is 14, set by Golden State’s Klay Thompson this season.

“I did not know that,” he said. “When I hit the last one the crowd got a little bit louder than the other ones.”

“If I had known – I honestly did not know I had made ten. Had I known that, I probably would have went for it. What is it, 14? Oh, I could have got that.”

The Trail Blazers trailed by eight at halftime but responded to a tongue-lashing by Coach Terry Stotts at halftime with a 40-21 edge in the third quarter.

“Just happy to get back on the winning side,” Lillard said. “I think the last three games that we lost we weren’t doing the things to give us a chance to win. Then in the first half tonight, we were making shots but we still weren’t focused and as sharp as we needed to be on the defensive end. That’s why we were down at the half and I think Coach came in and got on us and we just addressed it.

“We got out there, played more physical and with much more urgency, much better communication. That allowed us to get out and get some pace to the game and get the crowd into it when we turned it around. The second half, we found our rhythm.”

Except at the foul line.

The Trail Blazers have led the NBA in free-throw shooting through much of the early season but were a train wreck down the stretch, when they made only 2 of 10 from the line during the final 2:04 of the game.

“It should have been a 10-point win with free throws,” said Terry Stotts, who captured his 400th career NBA win. “I didn’t think we had much of an impact on the game at all in the first half defensively. But I like, especially the third quarter, defensively we were much better and obviously Damian in the third quarter was incredible.

“He carried us like does often.”

 

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Orlando Magic

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USA Today

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Orlando Magic

They call him Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers star set a new franchise record for three pointers made in a single-game on Wednesday, drilling 10 of his 15 attempts against the Magic. Nik Stauskas was also on fire, coming in off the bench to score 18 points and hit five threes of his own. The Magic were the get right game the Blazers needed as Portland ended its three game losing streak. 

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on the scene...

Final Box Score: Blazers 115 - Magic 112

Dwight Jaynes, Trail Blazers' Insider:  When Damian Lillard is struggling for a few games from distance, somebody usually has to pay for that. Tonight it was the Orlando Magic. Lillard's ability to score from the outside is critical for this team's success moving forward. 

​​​​​​Jamie Hudson, Trail Blazers' Reporter:  It was a career night for Damian Lillard and the Blazers needed just that to get a win over the Magic. After going 7-of-26 from three in the last three Blazers losses, Damian Lillard set a career-high and franchise record vs. the Magic on Wednesday night with 10 made three-pointers. Lillard went 10-of-15 from long distance and finished with a game-high 41 points. Getting him out of his shooting slump cannot be overlooked and is the biggest positive of this game. 

Mike Richman, Trail Blazers Reporter: This was going to be a bad loss, a fourth straight and the sixth in eight games for Portland. Instead Damian Lillard pulled the Blazers back from the brink twice. He erupted for a historically hot shooting third quarter and then delivered in the fourth with a crucial steal and running bank with under a minute to go. Blazers need to take care of business against sub-.500 teams at home. They did it tonight ... barely.

***Be sure to check back here throughout tonight for locker room videos with Coach Stotts and the players, plus locker room reports from Jamie Hudson and Dwight Jaynes***

NEXT UP: The Blazers return to action at home against the Denver Nuggets on Friday, November 30.  Tip-off is set for 7:30pm with coverage beginning at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

There are no nights off in the West

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USA TODAY

There are no nights off in the West

Blazers Outsider Chris Burkhardt tackles the Western Conference in this edition of the Outsiders Blog:

My, oh my, the Western Conference is something else. Nights off? There are no nights off in the West. Every single game is or should be considered a must win. The Blazers were in first place just a week ago, now following three straight losses they have fallen to sixth. The standings are so jumbled that the Blazers are just as close to being the best team in the conference as they are to being one of the worst. What do we mean? Well, the Blazers are just 2.0 games behind the first place LA Clippers, but are also just 3.5 games ahead of the 14th place Utah Jazz. Win streaks could put you in the playoffs, losing streaks could put you in the draft lottery.

The Western Conference is so good right now that only one team, the Phoenix Suns, has fewer than nine wins, and only five teams have a losing record. In the Eastern Conference, it's a different story. In the East there are seven teams with fewer than nine wins, and eight teams with losing records - including the eighth-place Orlando Magic. The 10-11 Magic would make the playoffs in the East, but the 10-11 Pelicans and 10-11 Timberwolves would both miss the playoffs in the West. 

The point is, if you are in the Western Conference, wins are at a premium. While it sounds cliche, every single game matters. Teams can't afford to lose games they should win. As we said before, team's can't take a night off. That is why this game on Wednesday has taken on a new level of importance. The Blazers have lost three straight games and are just 2-5 in their last seven. The Magic are a team they should beat and need to beat. After all 82 games have been played, this one game could separate the eighth and ninth place teams. The Blazers don't want to be sitting in ninth place knowing they dropped winnable games. 

Good teams take care of business and by all accounts the Blazers are a good team. Now it's time to prove it. 

OUTSIDERS PODCAST: One does not simply heckle Damian Lillard

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NBCS NW

OUTSIDERS PODCAST: One does not simply heckle Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard had a heckler targeting him in Orlando and he shut him down by going off for 34 points in the second half. We discuss the heckler, the win against the Magic, and much more on this episode of the Blazers Outsiders Podcast.