Denton: Magic vs. Blazers Analysis (1/8/14)

   

For the Magic (10-25), it was their fifth consecutive loss and 11th straight against a team from the rugged Western Conference. But before Orlando was outscored 39-19 in the game-changing fourth quarter, there were plenty of positives to build upon.

Orlando once led Portland (27-9) by 12 points in the first half and it gamely hung tough in the third quarter to take a four-point lead into the final period. But in the end, it was too much LaMarcus Aldridge (36 points on 16 of 25 shooting) and Portland 3-pointers (nine) for the Magic to withstand in the furious fourth quarter.

``The last game was tough on us in terms of not competing at a high level and we put ourselves in a position tonight to win the game and at least compete,’’ said Orlando’s Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis, who had to play out of position at center. ``I’m proud of our guys for doing that.’’

Arron Afflalo had 22 points, but 18 of those came in the first half. Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson played inspired basketball with 17 points and 10 assists. Rookie Victor Oladipo chipped in 14 points, while Davis scored 16 despite a poor shooting night.

Orlando was outrebounded 47-42 without Vucevic.

``Effort is mandatory and you don’t feel good about that,’’ Afflalo said. ``That’s how you’re supposed to play the game. I thought our intensity was good in the first half, but we just got off course in the second half. We have to continue to do the right things and do things the right way for 48 minutes. We have to do whatever it takes to get a win, but give (the Blazers) credit too because they played well in the fourth quarter.’’

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