Thursday, March 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: Portland Trail Blazers (29-34) at Orlando Magic (27-37)

To fall a season-high five games below.500, the Portland Trail Blazers have lost three straight and five of their last six games.

In the second game of a six-game road trip, the Trail Blazers will try to stop their slide when they play the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

However, Damian Lillard continued his hot hand against the Hawks with 33 points and eight assists. The seven-time All-Star has made 41 3-pointers in his last seven games, including five on Friday.

In Portland’s 109-106 home loss to Orlando on Jan. 10, Lillard, who is averaging a team-best 32.3 points per game, scored 30 points.

In that game, Jusuf Nurkic scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Anfernee Simons scored 15 points. However, both players are dealing with injuries. While Simons and Justise Winslow are dealing with injuries to their ankles, Nurkic has been out for more than a month with a calf injury.

Going into the first of their four home games, the Magic will probably be a little more upbeat.

Newbie Paolo Banchero scored 31 focuses in Orlando’s 117-106 triumph over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. The victory marked the Magic’s fifth win in a row as a result of a defeat.

This season, Banchero, the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, has scored 30 points five times, tying Dennis Scott for the most by a rookie in franchise history. Shaquille O’Neal, a future Hall of Famer, had 10 during his 1992-93 rookie season.

However, Orlando’s circumstances were not ideal.

Franz Wagner did not play in the second half because he injured his left ankle. When he was hit by JT Thor while trying to catch a low pass from Jalen Suggs, he fell awkwardly and rolled his ankle.

In the previous encounter with the Trail Blazers, Wagner, who scores an average of 18.7 points per game, scored a team-high 29 points.

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