Trail Blazers vs Magic Monday, 03/07/11 AT 04:00PM

Sixth Road Win Spells Sweep In Orlando

  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Portland Trail Blazers have won three straight and their sixth on the road after LaMarcus Aldridge scored a game-high 24 points, including a 3-pointer, and hauled in three rebounds in Monday’s 89-85 victory over the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.

    “The focus is always to get the game regardless of who we’re playing,” said Trail Blazer Head Coach Nate McMillan. “It’s not so much about the teams we’re playing, it’s about us. We have to challenge ourselves each night to come out and be better. We knew they would come out and play hard and play a good game, and we were going to have to play better to win the game tonight.”

    The Trail Blazers (36-27), who started a four-game road trip in Orlando, ended the series on a 2-0 sweep over the Magic (40-24) for the first time since 2003-04.

    Aldridge made 10-of-18 from the floor as Portland shot 43.2 percent and hit just 8-of-25 from three to drop Orlando, which had its All-Star center Dwight Howard absent from play after serving a one-game suspension.  

    “It was a good game early,” said Aldridge. “We had some miscues like bad switches and they got threes. A win like this makes you better because you learn how to grind it out.”

    Andre Miller, who tied Guy Rogers for 15th in all-time assist leaders, ended with 15 points and game-high seven assists and Wesley Matthews had 13 points and hit his second 3-pointer of the game that gave Portland an 88-81 lead in the fourth with 3:02 remaining.

    “I have to figure out who to distribute the ball to? Who to get going?” said Miller. “There is a lot of stuff as a point guard you have to worry about. I just try to do the best I can keeping everybody happy and involved.”

    Jason Richardson, who scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, led Orlando after hitting four 3-pointers. A three from Richardson tied the game at 74-74 with 9:34 in the final period.

    Ryan Anderson scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, and had seven rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu also ended with 13 points, including two threes, and added five rebounds as Orlando shot 47 percent from the field and hit 11-22 from beyond the arc. 

    Portland built as much as a 14-point lead in the third quarter after punching in consecutive threes from Miller and Matthews that helped push a 64-50 edge.

    Gilbert Arenas, who had nine points and four rebounds, responded with his own three and two more buckets and Richardson nailed a 3-pointer, a jumper and a pair of free throws to complete a 16-6 run to trail 70-66 going into the fourth.

    Richardson opened the fourth from three-range, hitting two in a row. Anderson also connected from long to give Orlando a 77-76 lead with 8:09 in play. 

    “They have a bunch of shooters,” said Aldridge. “They made it tough for us. It wasn’t an easy game. It wasn’t a relief. I had to guard Turkoglu and switches, and J-Rich and switches…at least with him I can guard a guy that is going to be in the paint. Without him out there I am guarding guards and a whole bunch of shooters and it wasn’t easy for me at all.”

    Aldridge hit a jumper and tied the game at 79-79 after making one-of-two free throws. Gerald Wallace, who scored nine points and tied a game-high 10 rebounds with Marcus Camby, tipped in a bucket that regained the Trail Blazers’ 81-79 lead as Portland went on an 11-2 run.

    Turkoglu was sent to the free-throw line with 1:31 left, where he made one of two. He recovered his miss and sank a three to pull the Magic within four with 1:21 remaining. 

    Brandon Roy, who ended with nine points, tried to seal the game with a three, but missed, giving possession back to Orlando. The Trail Blazers’ defense swarmed the three as the Magic looked for the long ball, but came up empty.

    Portland forced Orlando to 19 turnovers and totaled 12 at the break to lead 47-43 at halftime. 

    Aldridge led after the first half with 11 points and Miller scored 10, but the Trail Blazers on hit only 4-of-14 threes for the slim lead.

    “We didn’t really change what we did,” said McMillan. “We went inside last game. They did a good job of mixing up their goals, their traps in the post. They did that tonight. We just didn’t knock down shots. We had wide open looks in the first half.

    The Trail Blazers will quickly travel to Miami (43-20) and look to split the series against the Heat in a back-to-back on Tuesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM.  

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