NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 8th (All times Eastern)
Orlando Magic (10-24) at Portland Trail Blazers (26-9), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers have been struggling a bit and will try to rekindle their spark Wednesday night with the Orlando Magic in town.
The Blazers have lost two in a row and four of their last six. What's disappointing about this recent rut is that the back-to-back losses came against inferior opponents in the Philadelphia 76ers, which was at the Moda Center, and the Sacramento Kings, which came on the road.
On Tuesday, the Kings bested the Blazers, 123-119, at Sleep Train Arena. The 123 points was not only a season-high for Sacramento, but a season-high allowed for Portland.
"Most of the night other than the first quarter we had trouble defending," said Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "In the end, we didn't get enough stops."
Damian Lillard set a new career high with 41 points for Portland, which lost for the first time in its last four tilts against Sacramento.
LaMarcus Aldridge donated 24 points and eight rebounds in the loss, while Robin Lopez had 18 points and Nicolas Batum recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Blazers play two more at home after Wednesday, then head south for four straight.
The Magic are on game No. 2 of a five-game western road trip. The odyssey didn't get off to a great start as the Magic fell 101-81 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. Orlando has lost four straight and two in a row as the visitor.
Victor Oladipo and Maurice Harkless both scored 22 points with Oladipo adding eight rebounds and five assists for the Magic.
Jameer Nelson gave the Magic their only lead of the game with his 3-pointer 57 seconds in. The Clippers would score the next 18 points of the game to go up 20-3 before taking a 36-18 lead into the second quarter.
"They came out with an extreme sense of urgency. They had good ball movement. Their pace was great and we couldn't catch them," said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn.
The Magic will be without center Nikola Vucevic, who sustained a concussion against the Clippers. He could be gone a while as this was his second in 10 months. Orlando is 0-9 in games Vucevic either missed entirely, or left early with injury.
The two teams split last season's matchups, with each team defending its home court. The Magic have dropped three of their last four in Portland.
01/08 10:25:15 ET