The Magic won by double digits for the first time this season
and matched their season-high win streak at two games.
"We've been working on just burying a team when we have a big
lead and not letting them breathe, and we finally did that
tonight," Howard said.
Portland, ranked 28th out of 30 teams in scoring this season,
had a season-high 35 points and an eight-point lead after the first
quarter, but the Magic limited the Blazers to 54 points the rest of
"I told our guys after the first quarter that giving up 35
points to the 28th-ranked offense in the league is totally
unacceptable," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "Fortunately, we
buckled down some, quit letting their guards penetrate so easily
and things got a lot better."
The Trail Blazers got 23 points from Darius Miles and a
season-high 15 points and 12 rebounds from center Joel Przybilla,
but the team's second-leading scorer, Zach Randolph, had only eight
points on 4-of-14 shooting. Portland has lost four of five.
"Our concern is on the offensive side of the ball, with guys
getting touches," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "Zach
couldn't get anything to fall and it was like a lot of our guys,
when the offense doesn't fall, we don't defend. The bottom line is
we didn't play good basketball."
Nelson came off the bench in the second quarter and scored 10
points to spark Orlando to a 21-4 run to start the period and erase
Portland's lead. The Magic led by as many as 10 in the period
before settling for a 56-53 halftime lead.
"Jameer doesn't force the offense," Hill said. "I don't think
he ever puts his game ahead of the other people on the floor and
that's an important thing for a guard."
Portland's Sebastian Telfair, who had 20 points, eight assists
and no turnovers, started the second half with a driving layup to
cut the deficit to 56-55, but the Trail Blazers never could
overtake Orlando in the second half.
Orlando's guards combined to shoot 23-of-36 from the floor, and
forward Hedo Turkoglu added 15 points and three 3-pointers. Steve
Francis had a season-high nine assists to go with 16 points.
"What I really liked about our offensive execution was that our
guards kept everyone organized," Hill said. "We were patient and
took good shots. Plus, we started to defend better and that was
really the difference."
^Notes:@ Magic G Keyon Dooling left the game with 7:46 left in the
second period with a heel injury. He did not return. ... The Magic
activated Stacey Augmon for the first time this season. Augmon
missed the first 10 games with a hernia injury. ... Portland is in
the middle of a seven-game road trip. The Trail Blazers are 1-3
thus far. ... Magic F Turkoglu had a streak of 21 straight free
throws end when he missed a technical early in the fourth quarter.