(Sports Network) - It's been nearly a month since the Orlando Magic tasted
victory and they get three cracks in front of the home crowd to try and halt a
12-game slide, starting with Sunday's matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Magic haven't prevailed since Jan. 16 versus Indiana and their losing ways
resumed with Friday's 119-108 setback at Cleveland. It was an all-around
putrid performance for Orlando, which committed 19 turnovers for 22 Cleveland
points and sent the Cavs to the foul line 41 times (34-of-41).
Orlando did make 52.3 percent of its shots, but a 23-7 run by the Cavs sealed
the Magic's fate.
Nikola Vucevic scored a career-high 25 points and also grabbed 13 rebounds,
while Arron Afflalo and Andrew Nicholson scored 23 and 21 points,
respectively, for the Magic, whose 12-game slide is the longest since dropping
13 in a row from March 13-April 10, 2004.
Jameer Nelson registered 15 points and 13 assists in defeat.
"There's a numerous amount of things that are going on that we can correct,"
Nelson said. "But we obviously have to have some type of sense of urgency to
Afflalo returned to the floor for the first time since Jan. 27 because of a
strained left calf.
Orlando will also host Atlanta and Charlotte, and is 8-17 at Amway Center this
season. It is winless in five straight at home.
Meanwhile, the Blazers haven't been playing lights-out basketball either and
dropped a 118-103 decision at Houston Friday night. Rockets All-Star guard
James Harden was too much for Portland, posting 35 points, 11 assists and
"This year he is incredible," Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said of Harden. "I
don't know if he's the best shooting guard in the league right now, but maybe
he is. He's had a great year for them."
LaMarcus Aldridge, also a 2012-13 All-Star, led the Blazers with 31 points and
11 rebounds. Aldridge made 14-of-23 shots from the floor.
"My shot felt pretty good. We ran pick-and-rolls to get me open and my shot
felt good tonight and I was making shots," Aldridge said.
Batum and rookie Damian Lillard had 24 and 18 points, respectively, in defeat.
Houston outscored the Blazers, 52-38, in the paint.
Portland is 1-2 on a six-game road trip and has dropped 10 of 15 games. The
Blazers still have Miami and New Orleans remaining on the road trip and own an
8-17 ledger away from the Rose City.
The Blazers defeated Orlando, 125-119, in overtime at home in the first
meeting on Jan. 7. They have won eight of their last 12 trips to central
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