Trail Blazers-Magic Preview
Hampered by injuries all season, the Orlando Magic are mired in a 12-game losing streak - their worst in nearly nine years. They'll try again to stop their slide when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
Orlando's skid is its longest since dropping 13 in a row March 13-April 10, 2004, and the club has lost 23 of 25. Nikola Vucevic scored a career-high 25 and Arron Afflalo had 23 in his return from a six-game absence Friday, but the Magic (14-36) fell 119-108 at Cleveland.
J.J. Redick missed his third straight game with a sore shoulder and Hedo Turkoglu sat out for the second consecutive time with the flu. Glen Davis has missed five in a row with a broken left foot and could miss the rest of the season, while Al Harrington has yet to play due to knee surgery.
Besides the rash of injuries, the Magic have struggled to defend lately.
Opponents are scoring 101.7 points per game and shooting 48.5 percent over the last 12 contests. After playing better defense in two games against Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Clippers earlier in the week - those teams shot a combined 42.9 percent - Orlando gave up its second-highest regulation point total of the season to the Cavaliers.
The Magic allowed the Blazers shoot 51.1 percent in a 125-119 overtime defeat Jan. 7.
"(Basketball) is a great game," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "It teaches you lessons every time out. We complicate the game when it doesn't need to be complicated, which is why we struggle."
Portland (25-25) has lost two straight and been particularly bad away from home recently, going 1-6 in its last seven road contests.
Second-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge has totaled 58 points and shot 55.6 percent in the past two games, and he's recorded a career-best seven consecutive double-doubles.
However, his 31-point, 11-rebound performance in a 118-103 defeat at Houston on Friday wasn't enough to overcome another rough defensive effort. The Rockets shot 59.5 percent and got 35 points and 13-of-16 shooting from James Harden.
Blazers opponents have hit 48.8 percent from the field in the past eight contests.
"They were shooting the ball well inside, outside and mid-range, and were getting to the rim," coach Terry Stotts said. "We didn't have any answers for them defensively."
Portland has won four of the last five meetings with Orlando, getting 27 points from Aldridge in the January matchup. He's averaged 24.7 points in his last three games against the Magic.