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Jusuf Nurkic's big double-double leads win at Orlando, as Portland gets back key piece against NBA's worst team

NURKICThe Portland Trail Blazers are suddenly a hot team, relatively speaking, having won four of the past five games — including two in a row on the road for the first time this season.

Monday's 98-88 win at Orlando included the return of CJ McCollum, who missed 17 games with a collapsed lung.

Jusuf Nurkic had 21 points and 22 rebounds, McCollum added 16 points and Ben McLemore 14. Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little chipped in 13 points each. The Blazers didn't shoot well (.411, .206 from 3-point range, 7 of 34). They were 17 of 18 from the free-throw line.

McCollum made 7 of 13 shots, including two 3-pointers, in 28 minutes.

"It's not just good to have him back on the floor, it's good to have him back around the locker room and around the guys. He's one of our leaders and he gives us life," coach Chauncey Billups said.

The Blazers played good defense, holding Orlando to .378 shooting (.250 3-pointers, 8 of 32) and the Magic went 12 of 20 from the free-throw line.

The Blazers (18-25) have won consecutive road games, at Washington and at Orlando, for the first time and moved to 4-14 away from Moda Center.

But, it wasn't like Orlando was the most formidable team. The Magic have, by far, the NBA's worst record at 8-37.

It was Portland's 10th consecutive win against Orlando.

Franz Wagner and Moritz Wagner each had 14 points for the Magic.

Next up is another hot team, Miami, 4 p.m. Wednesday, the third game on the six-game trip for Portland. The Heat are 28-16 and have won five of the past six games.

Billups expects Norman Powell (health and safety protocols) to return to the lineup Wednesday.


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