Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/24

Game 1: Wednesday, November 24th
Trail Blazers89Final
Magic83
Game 2: Saturday, March 19th
Magic97Final
Trail Blazers92

Magic 97

(32-34, 11-24 away)

Trail Blazers 92

(23-41, 15-16 home)

7:00 PM ET, March 19, 2005

Moda Center, Portland, OR

1 2 3 4 T
ORL 24 26 23 2497
POR 24 28 18 2292

Top Performers

Orlando: G. Hill 23 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Portland: V. Khryapa 21 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

Portland drops to 1-8 since firing Cheeks

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic ended a frustrating stretch -- and they did it without Steve Francis.

Grant Hill had 23 points and eight rebounds, and Orlando snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 97-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Magic defeated Portland for the first time since 1998 despite missing Francis. Earlier Saturday, the team scoring and assists leader was suspended indefinitely by the league for kicking a courtside photographer during a game in Seattle on Friday.

Francis could miss several games, but his absence didn't matter this time and Orlando pulled into a tie with Philadelphia for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

"We are definitely a playoff team," said DeShawn Stevenson, who had 16 points. "Everybody is believing that."

Rookie Viktor Khryapa had a season-high 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting to lead the Blazers, who have dropped four in a row and are 1-8 since firing coach Maurice Cheeks. Sebastian Telfair had 16 points and Damon Stoudamire added 13 points and eight assists.

Magic interim coach Chris Jent earned his first victory after taking over for Johnny Davis, who lost his job Thursday in an effort to re-energize a languishingly team.

"This was very special," Jent said. "The team gave me the game ball and it was even more special because Grant Hill gave it to me."

Magic rookie Jameer Nelson regained his starting role with Francis out and played one of his most balanced games of the year with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 13 points and seven rebounds for Portland.

The Magic fell to Seattle in Jent's debut Friday night and came to Portland having lost to the Blazers 11 straight times. But Portland is in rebuilding mode under interim coach Kevin Pritchard and was missing Zach Randolph, Ruben Patterson, Nick Van Exel and Derek Anderson, all of whom are injured.

"After the game, I told them we have to keep plugging away," Pritchard said. "I really wanted to win for them. I wanted the younger players who've been putting out such good effort to feel they were part of a win."

Khryapa, a Ukranian drafted by Portland 22nd overall last year, had 14 points in the first half. He hit a jumper to give Portland a 52-50 lead -- its first since 32-31 -- going into halftime.

Portland shot almost 50 percent, but had 18 turnovers and allowed too many easy dunks and layins. Orlando built a 90-80 lead with six minutes left in the game.

Hill's jumper at 4:23 made it 95-84, but Portland scored six in a row to get within five.

Stoudamire's runner in the lane cut the lead to 95-92 with 33.8 seconds left. But after Hedo Turkaglo missed a shot, Orlando's Kelvin Cato snagged the rebound and passed to Turkaglo, who was fouled and made two free throws.

Joel Przybilla had 10 rebounds for the Blazers, but Orlando was much more physical, getting 48 points in the paint and outrebounding Portland by seven.

"I thought it was one of our best games of the year," Hill said.

Game notes


The NBA will investigate further before determining how long to suspend Francis. Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman was suspended for 11 games and fined $25,000 for kicking a cameraman in 1997. ... Theo Ratliff and Darius Miles returned to the Blazers after missing games last week. ... Dwight Howard shot just 2-of-11 from the field for the Magic.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ORL
POR
Points 97 92
FGM-FGA 41-98 (.418) 32-68 (.471)
3PM-3PA 1-6 (.167) 3-10 (.300)
FTM-FTA 14-17 (.824) 25-33 (.758)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-49 9-42
Assists 16 16
Turnovers 10 19
Steals 12 8
Blocks 5 12
Fast Break Points 20 18
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 18 (2/0)
Largest Lead 11 3

Top Performers

Orlando
Portland
Grant Hill Hill
Points: 23
Reb: 8
Ast: 4
Stl: 3
Blk: 1
Victor Khryapa Khryapa
Points: 21
Reb: 7
Ast: 0
Stl: 1
Blk: 3