The Portland Trail Blazers (26-18) are right back at it when they face the extremely shorthanded Orlando Magic (15-29) Friday night.
Friday’s game against Orlando will be the final matchup between the two this season.
The Trail Blazers lead the season series, 1-0 after Portland defeated Orlando, 106-97 on Feb. 9 at Moda Center.
In that win, Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 36 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 27 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.
But Friday’s contest is going to look a lot different from the one in early Feb.
Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, the Magic have listed nine players out against the Blazers.
However with their two two-way players, Orlando will have the minimum league requirement of eight available players.
Cole Anthony (right rib), Wendell Carter Jr. (trade pending), Markelle Fultz (left knee; torn ACL), R.J. Hampton (trade pending), Gary Harris (trade pending), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Otto Porter Jr. (trade pending), Terrence Ross (right knee) & Jeff Teague (trade pending) are out.
As for the Blazers, it sounds like their newest addition Norman Powell will be in attendance in Orlando, but he is still listed as questionable.
While, Damian Lillard (left knee contusion) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) are out.
Lillard has been playing with the knee contusion since last Sunday against Dallas.
But Friday's game does mark the return of Portland's starting center Jusuf Nurkic.
Nurkic hasn't suited up for the Trail Blazers since Jan. 14th after suffering a right wrist fracture against the Pacers.
Following Thursday’s game, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes discussed how Enes Kanter and Trail Blazers' front line lift Portland to narrow win at Miami:
Three players not accustomed to late-game attention, the Trail Blazer frontcourt, stood tall in the waning moments in Miami Thursday night and Portland came from behind to capture a 125-122 win over the Miami Heat.
Yes, Damian Lillard put the game away with three free throws with a second to play but Enes Kanter, Derrick Jones and Robert Covington provided the offensive firepower in the last two minutes to keep the Blazers close enough to play for the game’s final shot.
Kanter had three offensive rebounds in the final 1:55 of the game and converted them into eight points – five of them on his own shots and another three after passing to Covington for a long three.
Jones took a pass from CJ McCollum, dunked and drained the ensuing free throw to complete a three-point play with 13.9 seconds left to boost Portland to a two-point lead.
Then, after the Heat tied it, the Trail Blazers worked the clock down for Lillard, who drew a silly foul from Trevor Ariza on a three-point shot – nailing Lillard on his right arm after the ball was out of his hand.
McCollum had a terrific shooting night (14-25, 6-14 from three) and led his team with 35 points, but Coach Terry Stotts gave his three frontcourt starters plenty of credit.
“They came up big,” Stotts said. “Enes had an outstanding night. I mean, you look at the 18 points and 16 rebounds, but he's a plus-21 when he’s on the court. He just continues to do the work. Him getting a rebound and kicking it out for a three was a big play for us, obviously, RoCo had a big shot. And we played defense when we needed to the last five minutes. We were really aggressive, rebounded the ball, and offensively, we made the plays we needed to make.”
Kanter continues to pound the offensive boards, getting nine of his team’s 10 – which converted to 24 second-chance points.
Read more here.
The Blazers are -9.5 point favorites against the Magic, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s matchup –
- The Trail Blazers have won eight straight games against the Magic, including four consecutive meetings between the two teams in Orlando.
- In his last game against the Magic on March 2, 2020, CJ McCollum recorded 41 points (14-24 FG, 6-12 3-PT, 7-7 FT), five rebounds and five assists. McCollum has scored 20-plus points in five straight visits to Orlando.
- Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points (7-16 FG, 5-9 3-PT, 4-5 FT) to go with three rebounds and three blocks against the Magic on Feb. 9.
- Robert Covington recorded five points, 11 rebounds, four assists, one steal and two blocks against the Magic on Feb. 9.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: -9.5 (-110) – Magic: +9.5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Friday, March 26
Where: Amway Center | Orlando, Florida
Start time: 5:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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