ORLANDO – The Portland Trailblazers came into the Amway Center and had no problem taking down the Orlando Magic 130-107 last night.
The Blazers, torched the Magic with 55.7% shooting, including 48% from 3. Veteran CJ McCullom scored almost at will and dropped 41 points in the game, including 23 points in the first half.
Both the Blazers and Magic were missing key players from their rosters, with Portland playing without superstar point guard Damian Lillard and Orlando missing Forward Aaron Gordon.
Gordon has been a pushing force the Orlando since the All-Star break, and though Gary Clark played with energy in Gordon’s place, his 5 points wasn’t enough to make up the difference.
McCollum pretty much did what he wanted last night, but so did guard Gary Trent Jr. Then ended the night with 24 points including 14 points in the 4th quarter where Portland blew out the Magic 38-19 in the quarter.
Memphis was issued technical fouls on McCullom and Mario Hezonja for arguing with the refs about calls.
Steve Clifford’s biggest problem, a lack of defense, and he seems to be getting frustrated.
“Obviously that was disappointing, I didn’t see it coming.” said Clifford ” We haven’t played Magic defense here for a while.” “We are not good enough offensively to beat the best offensive teams trying to outscore ’em. If we don’t start defending is’t gonna be hard, forget seventh, to make the playoffs”
Michael Carter-Williams seems to agree. “We’re not getting to the ball, we’re letting the offense get to where they want to go. We have to be tougher on iso stops.”
While reporters were talking to Trent Jr. in the Portland locker room, Carmelo Anthony chimed in.
“What did you see when you were going for your shot?” the reporter asked.
Mello chimed in “An open shot!” from his locker. It pretty much tells the story.
Portland had been struggling, losing 3 of their previous 4 games, and they were looking for a positive before heading back to Portland. Looks like mission accomplished.
“We had to get this one” Said Carmelo Anthony “This was a very important game for us to kind off end tis trip with a win going back home. It was good to get it back on the right track.”
The Magic head out for a tough road trip over the next week, facing Miami, Minnesota, and Houston back to back, and then Memphis. They return home on March 12 to face the Chicago Bulls