Magic 95, Trail Blazers 85
When Magic coach Jacque Vaughn was asked about his team’s noticeable win discrepancy this season in games at home versus on the road, he likened their home floor to feeling like a “fluffed pillow” for his young team.
It found that warm embrace again, this time at the expense of a team fighting for its playoff positioning.
Tobias Harris had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Orlando beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night to stop a nine-game losing streak.
Nik Vucevic added 22 points and 10 boards for the Magic, who led by just eight at the half but used scoring spurts in the third and fourth quarters to put the game away.
Victor Oladipo had 13 points and six assists.
Orlando improved to 16-18 at home, compared to 4-34 on the road.
“When you play on the road it’s a lot different,” Harris said. “Their crowd gives them energy just like our crowd does.
‘‘We know we have to get better on the road, but we’re playing good at home and tonight was a good win for us.”
The Magic earned their fifth victory against a Western Conference team, but just their third over one that entered the night in position to make the playoffs. Orlando previously posted wins against the Clippers and Thunder in the Amway Center.
The Magic also matched their win total for all of last season with nine games remaining.
“I was really pleased with the mental focus that we had from the beginning of the game, to come out and not use being on the West Coast as an excuse,” Vaughn said. “It was impressive to hold that team to 85 points.”
Robin Lopez led Portland with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
The Blazers, who entered the night in fifth place in the West, have lost three in a row.
After getting blown out at Charlotte on Saturday, the Blazers rebounded and showed lots of fight in nearly upending defending champion Miami on Monday night.
They didn’t seem to have anything left at times against Orlando, which went right at Portland’s front line. The Magic outscored the Blazers 46-44 in the paint.
The Magic closed the third on an 11-2 run and upped their lead to 19 in the opening minutes of the fourth.
Harris was the most active player for Orlando in the final quarter, scoring eight points. The Blazers were finally able to string together some baskets and cut the lead down to 11 points on a 3-pointer by Wesley Matthews with 2:31 to play.
But the Magic were able to close the game from the foul line.
Mavericks 128, Thunder 119
Dirk Nowitzki scored seven of his 32 points in overtime, leading the host Dallas Mavericks over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nowitzki also had 10 rebounds and six assists.
Kevin Durant continued his scoring assault as he led Oklahoma City with 43 points. He has scored at least 25 in 36 consecutive games in the longest such streak since Michael Jordan’s 40-game run during the 1986-87 season.
Dallas had seven players score in double figures. Jose Calderon went 6-for-8 from 3-point range and finished with 22 points.
Russell Westbrook scored 23 for Oklahoma City. All of Westbrook’s points came in regulation, when he played 31:50.