Friday, March 26: Trail Blazers 112, Magic 105
The skinny: A veteran and a newcomer joined the Trail Blazers' lineup, and Portland came out with a road victory Friday.
Norman Powell scored 22 points in his Portland debut and post Jusuf Nurkic returned as the Blazers beat Orlando 112-105.
Damian Lillard sat out with the game, nursing his sore left knee.
Powell, a 6-3 guard acquired from Toronto, hit 7 of 13 shots (5 of 7 3-pointers) in a starting role, a day after being acquired. CJ McCollum also scored 22 points, a night after putting in 35 points at Miami and in a back-to-back situation coming off a foot injury, but he went just 8 of 26 from the floor (2 of 11 3-pointers).
Anfernee Simons, gaining more playing time with Lillard out, scored 15 points, all on 3-pointers. He was 5 of 7 from long range.
Nurkic had eight points and eight rebounds in nearly 19 minutes. Enes Kanter, who came off the bench with Nurkic back, provided his usual solid game with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Robert Covington had 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.
It was just a good all-around team win.
Portland moved to 27-18.
Meanwhile, Orlando (15-30) played without many players, after parting with top players Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier on Thursday. Not available were Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and Portland native Terrence Ross, all injured, and players coming to the Magic via trade (Wendell Carter Jr., R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris, Otto Porter Jr. and Jeff Teague).
The Magic had seven players in double figures scoring, led by Chuma Okeke with 22 points.
Quotable: "The way the offense is set up, the way they move the ball, play off one another, it felt really easy to get into the flow and find the different spots," Powell said. "I think I fit perfectly in what they're doing, definitely."
Next up: Powell and the Blazers face his former team — and the new team for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood — when they play Toronto at 4 p.m. Sunday at Tampa, Florida (where the Raptors play home games in 2021).
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.