The Orlando Magic win big over the Portland Trailblazers, 104-89. Dwight Howard rebounds from a poor performance with 21 points and 18 rebounds. I was a bit worried the Magic were going to revert to old ways after a spectacular defensive game on Wednesday. After the Blazers opened with a 35 point first quarter, the Magic's second unit came in and brought the team back into the game. Led by Jameer Nelson, the Magic scored 29 points in the second quarter while holding the Blazers to 18 points. Nelson finished with a team-high 24 points.
Steve Francis returned after missing 1 game due to injuries sustained in a car injury earlier in the week. Francis finished with 12 points and 9 assists with only 3 turnovers. DeShawn Stevenson had another great game, contributing 16 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds. At times, you could see Stevenson limping on the court. Hopefully for the Magic, Stevenson will not need surgery until after the season for the loose cartilage – or if needed - possibly right before All-Star break to limit time away. Kelvin Cato also showed up briefly tonight and contributed a decent game. Cato finished with 6 points and 8 rebounds.
I'm proud to see the Magic follow-up Wednesday's impressive win with another solid performance. The Magic rebounded the ball very well with a 49-29 advantage over the blazers. The team still has a little work to do on boxing out. The Magic also took care of the ball tonight, only committing 13 turnovers – a consistent improvement over the last few games.
To update on injuries, Stacey Augmon played 17 minutes tonight, showing his trademark defense. Keyon Dooling left in the first half with a bruised right heel, the same injury he sustained in pre-season.