Blazersí Offense Clicks in Win Over Magic
Portland 113, Orlando 108
PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 13 (Ticker) -- All of a sudden, the Portland Trail Blazers are a scoring machine.
Juan Dixon scored 25 points and made two clutch jumpers in the final 90 seconds as the Trail Blazers erupted on offense for the second straight game in a 113-108 victory over the reeling Orlando Magic.
The Blazers did not score 100 points until their 27th game and failed to reach triple digits for another seven contests before Wednesday's 113-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sparked by their triumvirate of guards, they matched their season high in points and shot 54 percent (42-of-78) from the field, including 10-of-15 from 3-point range.
"Our shooting from the perimeter and our free-throw shooting (19-of-22) were great," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "I thought the success we had had a lot to do with ball movement and passing the ball in rhythm."
"The guys really stepped up tonight," said Dixon, who made 10-of-13 shots. "Our bigs were getting good postion in the low post and kicking it out to us on the perimeter. It's up to us smaller guys to knock down shots and we were able to do that tonight."
After a 3-pointer by Orlando rookie Travis Diener opened the fourth quarter, Telfair made a jumper to give Portland the lead for good at 88-86. Rookie Jarrett Jack had a layup off a turnover to extend the advantage to 94-88 with 6:15 to play.
"It was just a good shooting night for me," said Telfair, who made 8-of-12 shots, including a career-high five 3-pointers. "It felt good to get in a rhytm out there. To get some minutes and help the team any way I could."
In his third game back from a right thumb injury that cost him 12 contests, the second-year point guard seems to be gaining confidence.
"When I first came back, I still wasn't sure and had that nervous bounce out there," Telfair added. "Tonight, I was a lot more confortable being out on the floor, just being able to run."
A follow shot by Dwight Howard, who had 20 points and 13 rebounds, pulled the Magic within 102-100 before Dixon drained a 15-foot baseline jumper with 1:11 to go.
Tony Battie halved the deficit with a jumper, but Dixon struck again from virtually the same spot for a 106-102 lead with 44 seconds remaining. Blake sealed it with two free throws with 31 seconds left.
"Everyone has their patented moves," Dixon said. "I like to go left. They forced me to the baseline. That was the only opportunity for me to get a shot off and that's what I like."
Since being inserted to the starting lineup 14 games ago, Dixon has averaged over 17 points and has been the offensive shot in the arm McMillan was looking for.
"I can't say enough about the play of Juan lately," the coach said. "He hits big shots. He's become one of the guys we look to get the ball to in the final minutes. He makes the big shots and he's not afraid to take them."
Zach Randolph scored 19 points for the Blazers, who allowed the Magic to shoot 51 percent (43-of-85) and were beaten on the boards, 40-30.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 27 points and Jameer Nelson added 19 and 13 assists for the Magic, who played shorthanded in their seventh straight road loss.
"Everybody had to step up because we were without great players that we needed," Nelson said. "For the most part, guys stepped up. You obviously want to win but we did all we could out there tonight."
Orlando was without star guard Steve Francis, who was suspended indefinitely by the team, and reserve guard Keyon Dooling, who began a five-game NBA ban for fighting.
"I thought our guys played outstanding," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "I'm very pleased with the way we played. In my heart this is the way I thought we would respond, but you just don't know."
"I want to give coach Hill credit for having his boys ready to play," McMillan said. "With all their suspensions and injuries, that team came out and played really hard. That's a testament to coach Hill."