Friday night was all about integrating Norman Powell and Jusuf Nurkic into the Trail Blazers rotation.
The Blazers and Magic brought the energy all night, even though Orlando had plenty to figure out after blowing up its roster at the trade deadline.
In the debut of Powell, he found his scoring rhythm quickly.
He notched 22 points in the Blazers’ 112-105 victory.
Which was the highest scoring mid-season debut in team history.
Whether it was his teammates finding him in the corner or Powell driving through the lane, he provided an offensive spark.
Portland took a 35-32 lead at the end of the first quarter behind CJ McCollum’s 11 points.
Thanks to the Blazers efficient shooting as a team, they built a 10-point halftime lead.
But Orlando did not roll over.
It was a team effort led by Orlando's starting power forward Chumu Okeke to keep the game close late. Yet, the duo of McCollum and Powell prevailed, despite McCollum's overall shooting woes on the night. After taking a 80-77 lead heading into the final period, McCollum took over. He poured in 22 points on the night.
Powell started at shooting guard, while McCollum took over point guard duties with Damian Lillard out due to a left knee contusion.
Nurkic played 5-minute stretches in his first game back. He finished with eight points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes of action.
The Magic listed nine players out against the Blazers.
However with their two, two-way players, Orlando had the minimum league requirement of eight available players.
The Magic were without 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).
Even though Lillard was out resting his knee in the second of a back-to-back, it was good for the Blazers to begin the on-boarding process with Powell and to get Nurkic back into the swing of things.
Powell started the game hitting 3-of-5, including 2-of-3 from three.
The newest Trail Blazer was an efficient 7-for-13 from the floor. He also brought the energy at the other end, notching two steals and one block.
After 32 games missed, Nurkic worked to shake off the rust.
Nurkic hadn’t played in a game since Jan. 14 against the Indiana Pacers when he suffered a fractured right wrist. But after turning the ball over two-straight possessions in the second quarter, he showed off his footwork down low and his deep range in the second half.
Nurk also picked up quick four fouls in his first nine minutes.
Now coming off the bench, Enes Kanter still made his presence felt, particularly on the glass. Kanter recorded 15 points and 15 rebounds while playing 29 minutes.
With Lillard out, Anfernee Simons earned more minutes and made the most of them. Simons was aggressive on the defensive end. He also made the Magic pay from three. Simons finished with 15 points after hitting 5-of-7 from deep.
As a team, the Blazers shot 45.0 percent from three with Robert Covington stepping up late from behind the arc.
Despite McCollum's off shooting night, his playmaking was on display. Stepping in at point guard, McCollum notched seven assists to go along with 22 points after going on a scoring tear late in the fourth.
Portland allowed Orlando to shoot 60.0 percent from the field in the first quarter. The Magic also took advantage of open looks from three. Chuma Okeke hit his first three threes.
The Blazers’ defensive intensity picked up in the second quarter led by Robert Covington. However, the young Magic squad never quit. Orlando outscored Portland 16-8 early in the third quarter.
Norman Powell showed of his stroke early:
The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Magic, 26-19, in the first half.
Next up: The Trail Blazers continue their four-game road trip in Tampa, Florida to face the Toronto Raptors Sunday. The Blazers and Raptors are scheduled to tip-off at 4:00 p.m. PST on NBCSNW Tuesday, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.