Trail Blazers vs Magic Monday, 01/07/13 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers Outlast Magic In OT 125-119

01/07/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    The Trail Blazers exploded offensively for 125 points to get a tough 125-119 overtime win against the Orlando Magic (12-22)  Damian Lillard (18 points, 10 assists) took over the overtime and the Trail Blazers eventually prevailed after being down by nine points at halftime, 125-119.

    "I thought it was a fun game," head coach Terry Stotts said. "I would have liked to have been a fan watching it."

    As the high score and the above quote indicates, this game was a lot of fun. Players were hitting tough shots. The final box score is every fantasy owner's dream. Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points, 10 rebounds), Nic Batum (16 points, 10 assists) and JJ Hickson (20 points, 15 rebounds) all had double-doubles, which is the first time that's been done by the Trail Blazers since 1998 and the first time it's been done this year in the NBA.

    Once again, Portland found themselves in a close one. They fell behind early on but managed to ride LaMarcus Aldridge's six of nine start in the first quarter to a one-point lead, even though they hadn't really been playing well. It was a welcome sight, as Aldridge has struggled from the field in the last two games, despite making winning plays in those games. After being down by seven in that quarter, they took the game back, but just as the Trail Blazers thought they had taken control, JJ Redick made them think again.

    Ronnie Price's great shift for Damian Lillard, where he scored eight points in his 6-plus minutes, was a big help off the bench. However, Redick's points were explosive and Portland, it seemed, had no answer for him. He scored 11 points on 4-5 shooting in the second quarter and he, along with Josh McRoberts (eight points in the second quarter) helped propel the Magic to a 33-point second quarter to give them a nine-point lead.

    "There's no adjustment," Stotts said of the defense on Redick. "We were loose with him in the first half."

    So, instead of completely stopping Redick and the Magic, the Trail Blazers just decided to one-up them on the other end. Damian Lillard finally started to get something going, scoring eight points while JJ Hickson and Wesley Matthews (24 points, his third straight game scoring 20-plus points) scored 10 points apiece. After giving up 33 the previous quarter, the Trail Blazers scored 37 in the third to help them get back into the game. However, being the game that it was, they were still tied after that explosion where they shot 75 percent. Orlando, a team that lives mostly off of effort, rebounding and defense, was showing a lot of confidence offensively scoring 28 in that quarter and still shooting over 50 percent.

    The two teams were tied at the end of three quarters.

    Nicolas Batum, after being quiet for three quarter got his buckets in the fourth. He scored 10 points on six shots after spending most of the game facilitating, as has become common place for him since his back injury. In the fourth quarter, roles changed and it was Aldridge (four assists) setting up Batum for two big three-pointers in the final three minutes. Aldridge also had some big buckets as well, going against a tough player in Nikola Vucevic (17 points, 13 rebounds, five assists) in what was the match-up of the night. Vucevic made him work tirelessly, but Aldridge still put together an All-Star outing. Two Batum free-throws gave Portland a one-point lead with 16.8 seconds left and it seemed that the Magic would surely go to the red-hot Redick. However, they went to Jameer Nelson who went unguarded under a pick to get off a clean three-pointer to send the game into overtime. The Trail Blazers then went to Lillard for the last shot, a step-back three that didn't go.

    "Tie score, I want to make sure we get the last shot. He can make them, he's made them. He missed that one," Stotts said about the decision to go with a Lillard isolation on the final shot of regulation.

    Orlando kept coming and hitting shots that Portland was guarding very tough. At one point, Wesley Matthews threw his arms in disbelief after a running hook by JJ Redick with 2:05 left.  Despite missing the shot to end it in regulation, the final 2:00 of overtime was Lillard time. He scored four points, had two assists, a steal and a rebound, all in the final 2:00 of overtime.

    "Well everybody was good. Damian, defensively he was - I thought everybody was good. Damian did what he did, " Stotts said.

    "It may be a trap game, but they played good. Orlando played a great game, a great game and they deserve credit for that," Batum said. "We did the most to win the game and now we have a big game on Thursday. We've got to be ready."

    The Magic could have snuck up on the Trail Blazers like the Kings did on December 8th or like the Raptors did last week. Aldridge spoke again after the game about the team "growing up," and by not making the same mistakes twice, they're doing just that. The Trail Blazers have now won eight straight home games and are 5-0 in overtime games.

    Don't miss Brian Wheeler's call of back-to-back buckets to extend the lead in overtime and of Wesley Matthews' breakaway dunk in the extra period. 

    Portland will face LeBron James and the Miami Heat (23-9) on Thursday night on TNT. That game will be at 730 and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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