Franz Wagner scores 23, Magic win their 2nd straight to open season 102-97 over the Trail Blazers
PORTLAND Ore. (AP) - Franz Wagner scored 23 points and the Orlando Magic won their second straight game to open the season, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 102-97 on Friday night.
Cole Anthony had 18 points off the bench for the Magic, playing the first of a four-game Western road trip.
Shaedon Sharpe, starting in place of the injured Anfernee Simons, had 24 points for the Trail Blazers. Simons was injured in Portland’s opener and will miss up to six weeks.
Portland trailed 82-80 going into the fourth quarter after Mortiz Wagner’s dunk for Orlando. The Magic pushed the lead to 97-84 after Franz Wagner’s 3-pointer, but the Blazers got within 99-93 with 1:33 left.
After Franz Wagner made one of two free throws, Deandre Ayton’s tip-in made it a five-point game and Portland couldn’t get closer.
The Magic routed Houston 116-86 in their opener at home on Wednesday. It was the largest margin of victory on opening night in team history. Six Magic players were in double figures.
The Blazers announced before the game that Simons will miss four-to-six weeks with a thumb injury that requires surgery. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb during Wednesday’s 123-111 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The absence of Simons stings as the Blazers embark on their first season without All-Star guard Damian Lillard, who was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in the offseason. Simons, who averaged 18 points last season, was expected to fill the void.
Simons, wearing a splint on his thumb, addressed the crowd at Moda Center before Friday’s game.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces and a lot of things to be excited about,” Simons told the crowd. “We’re hoping we make you proud this season by the way we play.”
The Magic went up 31-26 in the opening quarter, but Sharpe pulled the Blazers in front 50-47 with 4:01 left in the first half with a jumper and a layup following Jerami Grant’s steal. Skylar Mays added a layup for Portland.
Orlando closed the gap and tied it at 52 on Franz Wagner’s 3-pointer before heading into halftime with a 63-55 lead. Sharpe led all players with 13 points in the half.
Paulo Banchero’s jumper gave the Magic a 70-59 lead early in the second half. The Blazers pulled within 72-69 on Sharpe’s 3-pointer. Banchero, last season’s rookie of the year, finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Ayton had 14 points and 15 rebounds for Portland.
Magic: The road trip continues on Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Trail Blazers: Visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.
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