[Portland, OR] Suddenly, the Orlando Magic look like they have a winning formula as they downed the Portland Trail Blazers on their home court, 107-104.
Of course, it took a four game-winning threes by sharpshooter J.J. Redick in the final 16.5 seconds to seal the deal on Wednesday night at the Rose Garden. It didn’t seem like Orlando was going to pull this one out as Portland – who is playing great ball at 7-3 – had whittled down the Magic’s 23-point lead to two points.
But there was eagle-eye Redick, who stormed off the bench to notch 17 points and win one for the good guys. While Dwight Howard‘s numbers were disappointing (13 points, 13 rebounds), the team played well … together, according to Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.
“Our ball movement was the best it has been this year,” offered Stan post-game. “Our energy was outstanding. I was really happy with what we did in the first half.”
Hedo Turkoglu also deserves big credit for the win, as he bailed out the team during the free fall, scoring on back-to-back possessions. “We were dying, and we went to him twice and ended up with five points,” Van Gundy said. “Huge. Those were the game-winners right there.”
Of course, Redick may disagree with that assessment, but a win is a win, right? Especially on the road against a tough team like Portland, who suffered their first home loss of the season against Orlando.
Trail Blazer reserve Jamal Crawford did impress everyone in the building by scoring a season-high 24 points.
“When we show heart like that, there are good things in the team’s future,” said Crawford. “We didn’t throw in the towel. We continued to fight.”
Look for the Orlando Magic to dig deep tonight against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. The Warriors just rang-up a much-needed win versus the Miami Heat, thanks to stellar play by the newly acquired fire starter Nate Robinson.
If the 7-3 Magic win tonight and the 8-3 Heat lose, Orlando will start to look like a potential playoff powerhouse (with Dwight Howard still on the team, of course). Unfortunately, the will-he/won’t-he trade status surrounding Howard leaves an air of uncertainty around the team and no doubt the locker room.
Oh, the drama.
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate
Image: Orlando Magic