Nelson, Howard Add to Blazersí Road Woes
Orlando 104, Portland 89
ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 25 (Ticker) -- Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard were not about to let the Portland Trail Blazers regain their road legs.
Nelson sparked a huge run and Howard dominated the paint to lead the Orlando Magic to a 104-89 victory over the Trail Blazers.
"Anytime you give a team 35 points in the first quarter, you're going to be behind," said Nelson, who made 11-of-16 shots. "I think the bench came in and gave us a spark. That gave us momentum."
Nelson scored eight consecutive points to spark a 17-2 run in the second quarter. The point guard stared the spurt with a driving layup to cut the deficit to 37-33 with 8:57 left in the half.
Steve Francis, who returned to the lineup after missing one game with bruised ribs, capped the run with a three-point play with 4:41 left in the period to give the Magic a 48-39 lead.
"In the first quarter, we gave up 17 points off second-shot opportunities," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "From that point on, we did a much better job keeping people off the glass. Jameer came in and gave us a huge lift and Dwight had a great game on the glass. I'm just happy we were able to get the win."
Howard finished with his eighth double-double of the season and Francis added 12 points and nine assists.
Orlando dominated the boards, 49-29, and held Portland to just 19 rebounds after the opening period.
"They were beating us on the boards in the first quarter," Howard said. "The biggest thing we had to do was stop them from offensive rebounding. We really tried to keep (them) off the glass."
Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu led a charge in the third quarter, when Portland managed just 16 points and fell into an 81-69 hole.
Darius Miles scored 23 points and Sebastian Telfair added 20 for Portland, which got only eight points from Zach Randolph.
"I thought we played a perfect first quarter with 35 points and no turnovers," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "But we struggle defensively when we aren't scoring. Second quarter ... we didn't score."
"We just didn't defend," said center Joel Przybilla, who collected season highs of 15 points and 12 rebounds. "It seems like when we don't score, we don't defend. You can't win doing that."