PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Improved shooting is making all the
difference for the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers, who have won two straight after a six-game losing
streak, shot 54 percent in a 113-108 victory over the Orlando Magic
on Friday night. It was their second straight game over 50 percent
and it resulted in their highest-scoring total of the season.
Portland entered the game last in the league in 3-point shooting
percentage at just 31 percent.
"Our shooting from the perimeter and our free throw shooting
were great," coach Nate McMillan said. "I thought the success we
had (with 3-pointers) had a lot to do with ball movement and
passing the ball with rhythm."
Hedo Turkoglu had 27 points for the Magic, who were missing the
suspended Steve Francis. The Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today,
both citing anonymous sources, said the star guard wouldn't
re-enter Wednesday night's loss in Seattle after Turkoglu fouled
The Magic also were without Keyon Dooling, who was suspended
five games by the NBA on Friday for fighting with Seattle's Ray
Allen in the same game.
"I thought our guys played outstanding," Orlando coach Brian
Hill said. "We got contributions from everyone out there tonight.
I'm very pleased with the way we played."
Portland led the entire fourth quarter, but Orlando stayed close
behind strong post play from Howard and Turkoglu. The Magic scored
52 points in the paint, while the Blazers had 34.
The Magic cut the lead to two on Howard's follow shot with 1:50
left, but Dixon countered with a fadeaway 17-footer for Portland
and then a 3-pointer from the corner to put away the game.
Dixon shot 10-of-13 from the field. Steve Blake had 17 points
and six assists for the Blazers. Led by Telfair, the Blazers got 46
points from their reserves.
Telfair was in his third game back after sitting out with a hand
injury. His first two games were shaky, and Blake, who replaced
Telfair in his absence, has remained the starting point guard.
"Tonight getting out there on the floor, I felt more
comfortable," Telfair said. "The shots were just falling for me.
It felt good to get in a rhythm."
The Magic had all five starters in double figures, but were
without forward Grant Hill, who has missed five of the last six
games with a strained groin.
Francis, who is second on the team with 16.6 points per game,
was replaced in the lineup by DeShawn Stevenson, who had 13 points
but was just 4-of-11 from the field. Rookie Travis Diener added 11
Zach Randolph scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half for
the Blazers. He started off 6-of-6 from the field but missed 10 of
his next 12 shots.
The Blazers made 6-of-6 3-pointers in the first half and led
52-45 after Telfair hit back-to-back 3s, but Orlando went on a 10-3
run to tie the game at 55.
Portland took a 94-88 lead in the fourth after Telfair made his
fifth 3-pointer and Ruben Patterson converted a fast-break dunk.
Telfair hit back-to-back jumpers to make it 100-94 with 4:13 to go.
The short-handed Magic didn't have enough down the stretch.
Three key turnovers in the final 2:20 ended their chances.
"You obviously want to win, but we did all we could out there
tonight," Nelson said.
Orlando is 4-12 on the road this season. ... Dixon has
scored in double digits in 14 straight games. ... The game was
delayed for 7 minutes in the second quarter while referees enlisted
the help of Orlando big men Tony Battie and Turkoglu to fix a
crooked rim. Battie hung on the rim while Turkoglu tugged on his