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Franz Wagner erupts in fourth quarter to help Magic clip Blazers

Jan 10, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; ]Orlando Magic small forward Franz Wagner (22) shoots the ball against Portland Trail Blazers power forward Drew Eubanks (24) during the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Franz Wagner scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to help the Orlando Magic record a 109-106 victory over the host Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Wendell Carter Jr. recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds and Paolo Banchero added 19 points, 10 boards and three steals as Orlando registered a wire-to-wire victory. Markelle Fultz added 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and had seven assists as the Magic improved to 2-1 on a five-game Western swing.

Damian Lillard scored 30 points, but wasn’t one of the three Trail Blazers to attempt a 3-point shot on the game’s final empty possession. Jusuf Nurkic registered 22 points and 10 rebounds, Jerami Grant scored 16 points and Anfernee Simons had 15 points and seven assists for Portland, which has dropped four straight games and nine of 12.

Banchero made two free throws to give Orlando a six-point lead with 1:14 remaining. Lillard hit a jumper with 58.4 seconds left and then was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 24.3 seconds to go and made all three free throws to pull Portland within 107-106.

Fultz hit two free throws with 22 seconds left to give the Magic a three-point edge. The Trail Blazers had a chance to force overtime but Grant airballed a trey with 14.2 seconds to play, Nurkic’s corner 3 was short and off the side rim with 4.7 seconds left and Simons hit the back rim as time expired.

The Trail Blazers were an anemic 6 of 35 (17.1 percent) from 3-point range. Overall, Portland shot 48.3 percent, committed 17 total turnovers and trailed by as many as 19.

Moritz Wagner, older brother of Franz, had 11 points as Orlando shot 51.3 percent from the field, including 9 of 24 from 3-point range. The Magic had 16 total turnovers.

Orlando scored the first 15 points of the second half to take a 65-50 lead. Carter scored nine points during the spurt — including a dunk to cap it with 7:34 left in the third quarter — and Banchero scored the other six.

Lillard drained a 3-pointer as time expired in the quarter as the Trail Blazers trailed 82-73.

Earlier, Orlando led by as many as 16 in the opening stanza. The Magic held a 33-20 advantage entering the second quarter and scored the first six points to boost their lead to 19 with 10:49 left in the first half.

Portland answered with a 16-1 run with Grant’s basket cutting Orlando’s lead to 40-36 with 4:43 remaining in the half. The Trail Blazers eventually tied the score at 47 on a three-point play by Nurkic with 1:18 left and it was knotted at 50 at the break.

–Field Level Media