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  • 23 Nov 2014

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Extra five minutes works wonders for Blazers

When the Trail Blazers took Orlando into overtime, they had the Magic right where they wanted them.

Portland used a 10-0 run in the extra session to go in front 122-112 en route to a 125-119 victory Monday night at the Rose Garden.

The additional five (in one case, 10) minutes have been good to the Blazers, who are an NBA-best 5-0 in overtime contests this season.

“We won one time (in overtime), two times, three times in a row,” said Portland’s Nicolas Batum, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and the overtime period. “Now, when we get into overtime, that’s when we think the game is ours. That’s just confidence.”

It was the 10th win in 13 games for the Trail Blazers (19-15), who are four games over .500 for the first time this season.

Even when Orlando (12-22) led 61-50 midway through the third quarter, the Blazers didn’t blink.

“You get down 11, there’s no telling how that game’s going to turn out,” said Portland’s Wesley Matthews, who scored 24 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 4 for 7 from 3-point range. “But with the recent streak we’ve been on and our record as of late, we have a confidence and a swagger about us.

“We’re accustomed to winning. We think we’re going to win every game. That’s the mentality you have to have in this league.”

The Magic, who have now lost nine in a row, went down swinging.

“Orlando was good tonight,” Batum said. The Magic “played a great game. Give them credit for that.”

Even without injured forwards Al Harrington and Glen Davis, the Magic were determined to end their skid. J.J. Redick came off the bench for a season-high 29 points, and Arron Afflalo (24 points), Jameer Nelson (21 points, 12 assists), Nikola Vucevic (17 points, 13 rebounds) and one-time Blazer Josh McRoberts (12 points, six rebounds, career-high eight assists) all had big games.

“They made every shot tonight, but guys get hot in this league,” Blazer forward LaMarcus Aldridge said. “Fortunately for us, our defense picked up in the second half, and we were the better team down the stretch.”

“We didn’t get the win, but we came and put our work in,” first-year Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Our effort was unbelievable. Tough loss, but our guys did some amazing things tonight. They deserved to win that game.”

No more than the Blazers, who shot .511 from the field and got double-doubles from four players — Aldridge (27 points, 10 rebounds), J.J. Hickson (20 points, 15 boards), Damian Lillard (18 points, 10 assists) and Batum (16 points, 10 assists).

“I don’t know if I’ve had that one before,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said.

Lillard struggled through much of the game and missed a 3-point attempt that could have won the game at the end of regulation. The rookie point guard, though, had his prints all over the 10-0 spurt that cinched things in overtime. He started it with a jumper and a floater, then set up first Hickson, then Matthews for fast-break dunks. When Aldridge followed with a pair of foul shots, the Magic were goners.

“Orlando’s a tough team,” Stotts said. “They’ve been very competitive in the last few games, despite their losses. Tonight they showed why.

“Their big guys competed. Redick had it going, Afflalo was tough, Nelson hit the three (to force overtime). For us, the first half was not what we wanted defensively, but we picked it up the second half. The second half and overtime was a fun game.”

Orlando led 57-48 at the half and was still on top 97-93 when Matthews and Batum buried back-to-back 3-pointers to finish an 8-0 run and give Portland a 101-97 edge with three minutes remaining.

Consecutive baskets by Vucevic drew Orlando to within 106-105 with 19 seconds to play. Batum made a pair of free throws with 16.8 seconds left to hike the margin to 108-105.

After a timeout, Nelson sank a 3, and the game was tied 108-108 with 8.9 seconds to go.

“I had a good look, and it was a great play Coach (Vaughn) drew up,” Nelson said.

After another timeout, the Blazers got the ball to Lillard, whose shot from top of the key missed, and it was on to overtime.

“The main thing, I wanted to make sure we get the last shot,” Stotts said. Lillard “can make them. He’s made them. He missed that one.”

Redick was a man possessed, sinking 11 of 17 shots including 6 of 10 from 3-point range. He also had five assists and one turnover in 33 impressive minutes.

“We were loose with him (defensively),” Stotts said. “He’s a great shooter, always has been. He got a rhythm. We gave him too many clean looks.”

“He’s fast, especially when he’s got it going,” said Matthews, who drew the defensive assignment on Redick much of the game. “Whenever a guy gets it going — especially a shooter, a scorer like that — it seems like they get an extra gear.

“I was trying to cool him down, make every touch difficult, make every shot difficult. For the most part, I did that the second half.”

The Magic didn’t play like a team on a losing streak. Or maybe they played the way they played because of it.

“You can’t play (the opponent’s) record,” Matthews said. “They have guys with talent. They showed up tonight.”

NOTES: The Blazers’ next action is Thursday night at home against defending NBA champion Miami. ... Portland shot .511 from the field and scored a season-high 125 points, including 37 in the third quarter — the most the Blazers have scored in any quarter this season. ... It was Hickson’s 20th double-double and Aldridge’s 14th of the season. For Hickson, it was his 10th straight double-double at home, the team’s longest such streak since Mychal Thompson did it in 1982. ... The last time four Blazers recorded double-doubles in a game was April 1998. ... Portland has won eight straight games at the Rose Garden, its longest home skein since March 5-April 3, 2011. ... Why has Portland been so successful in overtime this season? “We’ve made shots, we’ve defended, we play with a lot of energy,” Stotts said. “Anybody can win a five-minute game. I would venture to say the five starters have played every minute of every overtime, and they’ve played well together.” ... Portland is 10-2 in games decided by six points or fewer.

Aldridge had his car rear-ended on the pre-game drive to the Rose Garden. Aldridge was fine, if a little shaken, as there was some significant damage to the car. “It was the other guy’s fault,” Aldridge said. ... The Blazers got word Monday that rookie center Meyers Leonard, who has missed the last four games with a sprained right ankle, probably will be out for another couple of weeks. “It was more than a tweak,” Stotts said. “Sprains can last a long time. It’s a setback for him and for us to not have him out there. He’s young; he’ll bounce back. It’s just disappointing that it happened.” ... Batum tied his career high in assists. ... Portland won the points-in-the-paint battle 60-44. ... Orlando shot .495 from the field. ... It was a clean game, with the Magic committing 10 turnovers and Portland nine in 53 minutes.