June 24, 2024

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Blazers Mash Magic, keep championship hopes alive

Blazers Mash Magic, keep championship hopes alive

Portland Trail Blazers, after a series of close contests to start Summer NBA During the schedule, the Orlando Magic surpassed Thursday with an 88-71 victory in Las Vegas. The win improves the team to 3-1 in summer league play, and keeps them alive for four postseason teams over the weekend as they look to defend their title from last year.

All three of the 2023 lottery picks between the two teams were inactive for the contest — Portland’s Scott Henderson and Orlando’s Anthony Black and Jett Howard. However, thanks to the efforts of summer sensation Michael Defoe, the Blazers have barely skipped a beat. Starting at point guard in place of Henderson for the third straight game (after having a DNP in the opener), the former Georgia Tech The star poured in 18 points to lead the way.

Although they got off to a slightly slow start, Portland finished the first half 36-7 from the 4:21 mark in the first quarter. The Magic were held to just 19 points within the first 20 minutes of the game. Orlando did a little better in the second half, but the 26-point deficit in the first half proved insurmountable.

While Devoe once again stole the show, showing off his ability to take offense, a number of other Blazers gave solid performances as well. Jabari Walker nailed a masterful double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and looks like a great turnover piece next season. Duop Reath continued his productive career as a backup center, recording 12 points and five rebounds, along with three steals as he looks to make the team’s training camp roster.

Freshman Chris Murray’s checkered summer continued, as he was unable to carry his hot shooting touch from the team’s game with the Charlotte Hornets earlier this week into Thursday’s contest. He showed his defensive abilities with a pair of steals, but was only 1-7 from outside the arc.

Fellow rookie Ryan Robert scored a team-high on 31 minutes and continued to establish himself as a tenacious defender – without making a single mistake. Offensively, he’s still a work in progress, going 1-7 from the field and committing three turnovers. He also pulled down 12 rebounds for the team.

Undoubtedly the most talented player on the ground, Shaedon Sharpe scored with another highlight reel, but he was limited to just 12 minutes as the team looked to increase the involvement of less established players.

Finally, Ibou Badji gave his best performance yet. The big guy is gaining confidence and shaking off the rust from a lost season as the Summer League progresses. He pulled it off against the admittedly small Magic roster, finishing with six points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocks over the course of 22 minutes.

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The Blazers are now awaiting the results of tomorrow’s games to determine whether they will participate in the league’s Summer Playoffs. The top four teams after the initial four-game schedule advance to the semi-final game on Sunday, with the championship game scheduled for Monday night. Interval breaks will be determined by point differential.

Regardless, Portland will play at least one more game over the weekend, with the opponent and time announced after the stadium is set.

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