By John Denton
January 7, 2013
PORTLAND, Ore. – For a second time this season, the Orlando Magic headed some six hours from home to the West Coast looking to shed their losing ways and deliver a stirring victory against a quality opponent.
And for most of Monday night, all of that seemed possible for a Magic team that was turning in one of the gutsiest and most resilient efforts of the season. And it seemed like the Magic were destined to finally break an unsightly losing streak when veteran point guard Jameer Nelson capped off his record-setting night with a tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime.
But as so often has been the case of late, the Magic went through an offensive drought at the worst time, couldn’t stop rookie Damian Lillard with the game on the line and lost in overtime for the second time in a week.
Portland’s 125-119 overtime victory crushed the spirits of an Orlando team that hoped to recreate the magic of early December when it went to the West Coast and beat the Los Angeles Lakers and racked up three victories. It also put a damper on a night when Nelson – the longest-tenured Magic player – etched his name into the record books as the franchise’s all-time leader in assists.
``Right now I can’t enjoy it as much as I want to because of the loss, but (the assists record) is something that I can reflect on later on in life,’’ Nelson said. ``I’m not a guy for individual accolades, but when you get a little older you reflect on those things, realize what you did and tell those stories to your kids.’’
Orlando (12-22) lost its ninth straight game – all of which have come with power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis out with a sprained left shoulder. So good offensively all night, the Magic inexplicably came unglued in the overtime to continue their winless drought.
``Our effort was unbelievable and the work that we put into the game was great, but we just didn’t get the win,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``But at the end of the day we put our work in. It’s a tough loss. Our guys did some amazing things and they deserved to win the game.’’
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