Portland gave the Magic a run for their money in 104-103 Magic win

ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic defeated the Portland Trail Blazers to end an eight-game home stand.

Orlando, Florida, USA, April 1, 2024, Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero #5 attempt to make a basket but is blocked by Deandre Ayton #2 at the Kia Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Portland came into Orlando as losers of nine straight games, including a 142-82 loss to the Miami Heat last Friday.

Magic Head Coach Jamal Mosley stressed the need to get off to a good start in this game, but the Magic didn’t have the strongest start, spending a few minutes tied with the Blazers at seven-seven. Orlando started at a decent pace but got sloppy with a 35% shooting percentage early on.

After a dominant performance against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, the Magic were expected to make easy work of Portland. However, the Blazers showed more fight than expected, and the high-riding Magic found themselves in a dogfight against a team with less talent.

Coach Mosley noticed and wasn’t happy.

Orlando, Florida, USA, April 1, 2024, Orlando Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley at the Kia Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

“Before we start, [I] know you’re going to ask to talk about the Magic standard and how we play,” said Mosley. “That wasn’t it tonight. I’m just going to start that the right way. Portland, give them credit for how they battled and stayed in the game, but we have to be better. Very simple, we have to play a better style of basketball. We can’t just play with the game. We need to respect the game of basketball and play the right way from the beginning to the end. That’s what we have to do to continue to grow and learn. We talked about learning from those three losses; this is a win where we’re going to learn from it and how we have to respect and approach every single night when we come out.”

The win happened to be his 100th win as the Orlando Magic Head Coach, but he didn’t feel like celebrating. However, Franz Wagner had some thoughts on having Mosley as his head coach.

“Mose (Jamahl Mosley) is an awesome coach,” said Wagner. “Everybody on this team loves playing for him, and obviously, he’s the driving force behind the vibe and the culture that we have in the building. Yeah, I think for the whole team when I say that everybody likes coming to work, likes to play together and stuff like that, and like I said, Mose is a driving force in that. I’m really happy that he’s my coach.”

Orlando, Florida, USA, April 1, 2024, Portland Trail Blazers center Deandre Ayton #2 attempt to make a basket as Jonathan Isaac #1 attempt to block in the first half at the Kia Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

The Trail Blazers switched strategy and started attacking Orlando in the paint, and on defense, Orlando tried the same strategy when outside shots weren’t hitting, but Dandre Alton was a solid deterrent to shots near the basket.

Orlando countered the Portland attacks by bringing dynamic defender Jonathan Isaac off the bench. Isaac disrupted the attacks, forcing many Blazers to think twice once he came in.

The game came down to the wire, with Orlando up 104-103 in the final seconds, and Orlando had the defense to hold on for the win.

Portland’s Delano Banton scored a game-high 26 points off the bench, while Deandre Aston and Franz Wagner both scored 20 points.

All five starters for the Magic scored in double digits, but the Magic committed 16 turnovers that led to 19 points, which is unacceptable for a team headed to the playoffs.

Portland outscored Orlando in the paint 48-44 and dominated in second-chance points 23-11.

Orlando next heads out on a two-game road trip, facing the Pelicans and the Charlotte Hornets.

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