ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Magic got a look at their harsh, new reality a night after trading away the core of their team, losing 112-105 on Friday to a Portland Trail Blazers squad without injured star guard Damian Lillard.
Newly acquired guard Norman Powell scored 22 points and hit five 3-pointers in his Portland debut, and C.J. McCollum had seven of his 22 in the fourth quarter.
“This is what I expected (from Powell) because he knows how to play the game, he plays the way we play, he moves well without the ball, shoots 3s, he’s in shape and he defends,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “I wouldn’t have said he was going to score 22, but I really had a feeling that he was going to play well for us.”
The Magic, who lost for the 12th time in 14 games, had just eight players available after trading franchise fixtures Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon and two others Thursday. Vucevic had been the Magic’s only All-Star since 2012, while Fournier was averaging a career-high 19.7 points and Gordon was less than a week removed from scoring a season-best 38 points against Brooklyn.
Orlando rookie Chuma Okeke scored a career-best 22 points by making 9 of 15 shots and 4 of 6 3-pointers. James Ennis III had 18 points and four 3s, while Dwayne Bacon scored 17 points. Khem Birch chipped in 14 points and 15 rebounds in place of Vucevic.
“To have a chance to play better on Sunday, the (new) guys have to get acclimated and these guys who are playing more minutes made far, far too many basic mistakes,” Magic coach Steve Clifford fumed.
Portland won for a second night in a row and improved to 14-6 this season in back-to-back sets of games. The Blazers are 13-9 on the road. The Blazers made 18 of 40 3s on Friday.
Portland found itself tied at 94 when Ennis sank a 3-pointer with 6:31 to play. However, the Blazers responded by scoring the next seven points. McCollum started that run with a 3-pointer and finished 8 of 26 from the floor.