Stotts’ team hoping to stay hot vs. Orlando
Damian Lillard won’t soon be usurped as Portland’s offensive catalyst. Still, the recent play of fellow guard C.J. McCollum suggests another superstar is taking flight in the Pacific Northwest.
The Lehigh product aims to continue his prolific scoring stretch this evening, with Orlando invading the Moda Center for a 10 p.m. ET trip. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Trail Blazers odds of -315 to handle their business at home. Conversely, the Magic represent +250 underdogs.
Not only did Terry Stotts watch McCollum go off for a game-high 27 points in Wednesday’s 102-86 victory over Cleveland, but the veteran coach was treated to a superb defensive effort. Rip City’s finest held LeBron James & Co. to a season-low 34.3 percent shooting. Earlier in the week, Portland also suffocated the Lakers, picking up a 108-87 win at Staples Center.
Orlando (16-24) can only dream of that kind of success. Frank Vogel’s squad sorely missed Serge Ibaka (shoulder) during a 105-96 loss to the Clippers two nights ago. On a brighter note, forward Aaron Gordon appears to be finally hitting his stride after a sluggish start to the campaign. The third-year pro has averaged 16.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game since Jan. 1.
Nonetheless, the Magic’s porous D should allow Lillard and McCollum to run wild. Look for the latter to top the 25-point mark for the eighth straight contest. In so doing, he’ll help the Blazers improve to 19-23 overall.
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