Orlando Magic’s Standout: Jalen Suggs Halts Blazers’ Comeback, Keeps Playoff Dream Alive

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When the Magic were on the verge of losing a game and securing home-court advantage in the first round, Jalen Suggs came up big.

Suggs completely dominated Scoot Henderson on Portland’s final play, and his unrelenting defensive pressure forced the rookie point guard to the floor. 

Henderson attempted a frantic pass to DeAndre Ayton, who missed a jumper as time expired in Orlando’s 104-103 victory.

Orlando Magic’s Close Call Against Blazers

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ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 1: Gary Harris #14 and Jalen Suggs #4 of the Orlando Magic react during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 1, 2024 at Kia Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE.

The Orlando Magic have one of the simplest remaining schedules of any playoff team, but they nearly squandered a chance to win against the 19-56 Trail Blazers, who have lost two games this season by 60 points or more.  

After building a nine-point lead with three minutes remaining, the Magic let up a 10-2 run against the Blazers.

Orlando has the league’s second-best defense, while Portland has the league’s second-worst offense, yet the Magic were unable to handle Dalano Banton’s scoring in the second half. 

He concluded with his sixth game of 25-plus points in the last four weeks, which is not terrible for a player the Boston Celtics paid the Blazers for in February.

Suggs, on the other hand, delivered when it really counted.

Orlando Magic Eye Higher Seed Amidst Competition

With Orlando now a game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and a half-game behind the New York Knicks, the team has a fantastic potential to go from the No. 5 slot to the No. 4 or perhaps No. 3 seed. 

The Magic will have to play Milwaukee twice in their final three games, but the Bucks will most likely have secured the No. 2 seed by then.

Both the Cavs and the Knicks have rosters riddled with injuries, whereas the Magic have a healthy squad, including frequently injured contributors Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac.

Suggs didn’t simply save the game. He saved Orlando’s chances of finishing third or fourth place and gaining home-court advantage for one round.

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