Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Link it up: Welcome to Miami Edition

Superb win last night. I've got some odds and ends from last night's post-game that I'll have for you in a bit, but before that, check the links.

Jason Quick, The Oregonian: For a player who almost exclusively hits three-pointers, perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise to hear Trail Blazers rookie Rudy Fernandez on Monday speak in the third person.

"Rudy is not everyday a shooter," Fernandez said. "He's defense. He's passes. He's assists."

Fernandez was all of that and more on Monday, when his frenetic and flashy play keyed a 106-99 victory at Orlando, the Blazers' first road win in four tries this season and their third victory in a row overall.

In the first 6:13 of the fourth quarter, which the Blazers entered trailing 73-72, Fernandez had eight impact plays that defined the Blazers' game-deciding 17-4 run. He had two three pointers, two assists -- including one on the go-ahead basket -- drew a charge and had three steals.

Kyle Hightower, Orlando Sentinel: There were a noticeable number of empty chairs inside Amway Arena Monday night and it all wasn't tied to a sketchy economy.

A month ago, Monday's game was one to circle on the schedule with Magic fans' first opportunity to see Portland 7-footer Greg Oden opposite Orlando big man Dwight Howard.

But with Oden still out nursing a right foot sprain, what got shoved down the Magic's throat in their 106-99 loss was a Blazers team that is full of athleticism and plenty of weapons without their own giant.

The Blazers had five players in double figures led Brandon Roy's 27-point night, but also got 20 points apiece from Steve Blake and Travis Outland and 16 more from both LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Fernandez.

• If this isn't a foul, I don't know what is.

John Denton, Florida Today: Orlando's shooting guards were no match for Portland's Brandon Roy, who had 27 points. Travis Outlaw (19 points) and Rudy Fernandez (16 points) combined to make seven 3-pointers, including two back-breakers to start the fourth quarter and send the Magic into a freefall.

Howard finished with 29 points and 19 rebounds, but he was mostly a non-factor in the second half. He had 23 points by halftime, but scored just six over the final two periods. Four consecutive free throw misses by Howard early in the fourth quarter contributed to Orlando's second-half offensive collapse.

The game made a decisive and stunning turn late in the third period.

Lewis hit a turnaround jumper with 4:28 remaining in the third, putting Orlando up 72-68 at the time. But by the time Orlando had its next field goal -- a layup by Hedo Turkoglu with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter -- more than 11 minutes had transpired and the Magic trailed 87-75. Orlando started the fourth quarter with five turnovers, an air ball and four free throw misses.

Associated Press: Outlaw, who played 41 minutes, more than any Blazers' starter, made 3-of-5 3-pointers.

"He's the guy down the stretch that we've been going to over the years and tonight when the offense stalled he was able to get us a couple of buckets," McMillan said. "We got our confidence back."

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