Final Score: Portland Trailblazers 104 at Orlando Magic 110
Story of the Game: Orlando Snaps 12-Game Losing Streak with Return of J.J. Redick
Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick returned to the Orlando lineup after missing the previous three games with a shoulder injury and immediately made his presence felt. Along with power forward Gustavo Ayon (who did not play in Friday's loss to Cleveland), Redick and the Magic were able to fight off each rally the Trailblazers mounted in an effort to retake the lead.
Starring alongside the two Magic reserves was center Nikola Vucevic, who scored 17 points and pulled in 19 rebounds.
The effort the Magic put in crashing the glass, particularly on the offensive end, proved to be the difference-maker in the game. Orlando out-rebounded Portland 50 to 38, with both teams collecting 33 defensive rebounds, but the Magic crushed the Trailblazers by grabbing 17 offensive rebounds to Portland's five.
Turning Point: The Second Quarter
Despite falling behind by 11 points in the first quarter, Orlando managed to rally and cut the lead to four points before the end of the period.
It continued to build on this momentum in the second quarter, taking the lead less than two minutes into the quarter on a shot by Redick and never giving it back, although Portland tied the game at 46-46 after Nicolas Batum scored nine straight points with three consecutive three-point shots for the Trailblazers.
Who Stood Out: Nikola Vucevic, J.J. Redick and Gustavo Ayon
Vucevic was a monster on the boards, while Redick and Ayon provided a spark off the bench that helped tilt the game in Orlando's favor, especially after Magic point guard Jameer Nelson and shooting guard Arron Afflalo failed to score a single point in the first half.
What to Take From the Game:
The Magic proved that they can still field a competitive team when they have their key players healthy, after a rash of injuries caused Nelson, Afflalo and Redick to miss several games.
Several of the team's young big men (Vucevic, Ayon, rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson and rookie center Kyle O'Quinn) also showed up in a large way and gave Orlando the edge on the glass, which proved to be the key to victory.
Orlando was able to avoid losing its 13th-straight game by winning against the Trailblazers.
Most Valuable Player: Nikola Vucevic
As much as we've discussed Vucevic and his outstanding effort tonight, it truly was a special performance that is worthy of praise. Vucevic finished with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 19 rebounds, three assists and three turnovers.
Least Valuable Player: Damian Lilliard
The rookie point guard and Rookie of the Year favorite had an atrocious night shooting the ball and cost the Trailblazer's the game with his brick-laying.
Lilliard shot one of 16 from the field (including zero of eight from three-point range) and finished the game with four points, three rebounds, 12 assists, one steal, one block and four turnovers.
Next Game: Home against the Atlanta Hawks (27-22), on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 p.m.