EditorsNote: minor edits in 9th graf
Damian Lillard scored a season-high 41 points, including 19 in the third quarter, and the Portland Trail Blazers kicked off their first road trip of the season with a 128-114 win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
CJ McCollum added 22 points for Portland, and Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Zach Collins came off the bench for 17 points.
Nikola Vucevic paced Orlando with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Terrence Ross scored 21 points, Evan Fournier had 17, and Aaron Gordon produced just two points in the first half but finished with 17.
It looked as if the Blazers were on the verge of running away with the game several times before they finally put an end to any hopes of an Orlando comeback midway through the fourth quarter.
Portland led by as much as 16 points in the third quarter after Lillard hit back-to-back 3-pointers. But Orlando continued to fight back, cutting a few double-digit leads into manageable deficits.
Gordon drilled a pull-up 3-pointer in transition to cut Portland’s lead to 102-99 with 7:54 left to play. The Trail Blazers responded with a 3-pointer by McCollum, and Lillard rattled off five straight points to give the visitors an 11-point advantage.
That was as close as the Magic, who never led in the game, would come.
Lillard broke a 9-9 tie midway through the first period with a left-handed dunk, and the Trail Blazers steadily built a double-digit lead in the first half.
Portland closed out each of the first two quarters with buzzer-beaters and ended both periods with a 5-0 run. Collins banked in a 3-pointer as the first quarter ended, and Lillard grabbed an Orlando miss and dribbled the length of the floor for a last-second layup to give the Trail Blazers a 58-48 halftime lead.
Collins led Portland with 13 points at the half and never missed a shot, finishing 7-of-7 from the field with two 3-pointers.
Overall, the Trail Blazers outshot the Magic from the floor, 55.2 percent to 50 percent.
—Field Level Media