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Staff report: Portland caps trip with win, stays 3.5 games behind Memphis in West playoff race

CJ McCollum bombed in 41 points — matching his season high — as the Trail Blazers broke open a close game after three quarters and swept to a 130-107 victory over Orlando on Monday night at Amway Center.

Portland (27-35) salvaged the final game of a three-game trip and won for only the second time in the last eight games.

McCollum, who scored 23 points in the first half, finished 14 of 24 from the field and 6 of 12 from 3-point range. He had five rebounds and five assists for the Blazers, who outscored the Magic (27-34) 38-19 in the fourth quarter.

Six Blazers scored in double figures, including Gary Trent Jr., who went for 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting, including 4 for 6 from the 3-point line. Portland shot .552 from the field and made 16 of 33 3-point attempts.

Nikola Vucevic collected 30 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando, which shot only .379 from the field. Jefferson High grad Terrence Ross added 23 points.

Vucevic scored 14 early points as Orlando mounted a 24-20 lead. The Blazers used a 13-0 run to go ahead 33-24 as McCollum sank four straight 3-point attempts and tallied 17 points to lift Portland to a 35-28 advantage after one quarter.

Ross lit it up for 15 points in the first five minutes of the second quarter, drawing the Magic to within 49-47. Mario Hezonja — who played his first three NBA seasons with Orlando — scored eight second-quarter points to help Portland jump out ahead 59-49.

The difference was 69-58 at the half, McCollum going for 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4 for 5 from 3-point range.

Orlando closed to within 82-80, but McCollum buried a 3, sank a pair of free throws and converted a layup to make it 89-82. The spread was 92-88 heading into the final period.

A four-point play by Trevor Ariza pushed Portland's edge to 109-97 with 7:09 remaining. The Magic got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

It was the sixth straight game without Damian Lillard (groin) for the Blazers, who remained 3 1/2 games behind No. 8 Memphis in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies routed homecourt Atlanta 127-88.

The Blazers will return to Portland to play host to Washington at 7 p.m. Wednesday.


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