A west coast trip that started out well is turning sour for the Orlando Magic, who dropped their last two games to fall to 1-2 on the four-game trip. The Magic will try to come out even and avoid a season-high third-straight loss when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Orlando struggled on the defensive end in a 125-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday and wasn’t happy with its offensive effort in Monday’s 110-100 setback at the defending champion Golden State Warriors. “I think the problem tonight was definitely offensively,” Magic guard Evan Fournier told the team’s website. “The ball stuck too much. Obviously, they scouted us really good and we could never find a rhythm offensively. It was a mix of them being more physical, messed up some coverages and then when we have to walk the ball up, it’s hard for us offensively.” The Trail Blazers snapped a two-game slide with a 99-82 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday to move to 3-2 on their six-game homestand. Portland, which will play six of its next seven games on the road, leaned on its bench to avoid a three-game losing streak.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Florida (Orlando), NBCS Northwest (Portland)
ABOUT THE MAGIC (8-6): Point guard Elfrid Payton is still working his way back into shape after missing eight games with a hamstring strain and sat out the loss at Denver on the second night of a back-to-back before struggling at the Warriors. Payton was held to four points on 2-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes at Golden State after going 9-of-16 from the floor in his first two games back. Fellow point guard D.J. Augustin is dealing with his own hamstring strain and is expected to sit out his seventh straight game on Wednesday.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (7-6): Evan Turner led the bench effort on Monday with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting as the reserves shot 17-of-26 from the floor. “I just think we went on a run and was able to keep it defensively and offensively,” Turner told reporters. “I think we’re all clicking, I think we picked up our communication. Slipped away a little bit but then I think our first unit put together their own run and the second unit came in and held it up.” The bench play is picking up some of the slack for star guard Damian Lillard, who is 4-of-23 from 3-point range over the last four games.
1. Magic rookie PF Jonathan Isaac (ankle) sat out Monday and is not expected to play on Wednesday.
2. Trail Blazers rookie PF Caleb Swanigan made his first start on Monday and managed six points on 2-of-5 shooting in 20 minutes.
3. The teams split the season series in 2016-17, with Orlando earning a 112-103 win in Portland on Feb. 23.
PREDICTION: Magic 116, Trail Blazers 109