With Arron Afflalo leading the way, the Orlando Magic closed out
their road-heavy stretch on a positive note.
Now the Magic are hoping to end their struggles back in Orlando
on Wednesday night when they open a six-game homestand against the
lowly Utah Jazz.
After dropping five straight games to begin a stretch with eight
of nine on the road, Orlando (8-17) regrouped to split its last
four following an 83-82 victory in Chicago on Monday.
Afflalo finished with a team-best 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting
with eight rebounds, while Glen Davis and Jameer Nelson scored 14
apiece for the Magic, who won for the second time in three road
games. They also nearly stole a victory with a late rally in
Oklahoma City on Sunday before falling 101-98.
Afflalo has been a bright spot for an Orlando team that has
averaged 89.9 points over its last seven contests overall. The
shooting guard is averaging a team-best 21.6 points – more than
five per game above his previous career high.
”To me, it’s just about us getting healthy, putting it
together, and getting some consistency,” Afflalo said. “I feel
once we get consistent with the things that we do well we’re going
to be pretty good.”
The Magic will attempt to get off to a strong start on the
homestand against scuffling Utah, Sacramento and New York in the
first three games.
Since allowing an average of 89.6 points during a 4-1 start at
Amway Center, Orlando has given up 107.3 per game while dropping
five of six there.
”I’m really looking forward to our personal home stretch back
in Orlando and hopefully putting a streak together for once,”
The Magic should be able to tighten things up defensively
against Utah (6-21), which ranks near the bottom of the Western
Conference at 93.4 points per game.
The West-worst Jazz will attempt to rebound from consecutive
double-digit losses after falling 100-84 to San Antonio on Saturday
and 117-94 at Miami on Monday.
Alec Burks led the Jazz with a career-high 31 points on 12-of-17
shooting and seven assists against the Heat, while Derrick Favors
added 17 points and seven rebounds in the opener of a five-game
But Utah couldn’t hang on to a three-point halftime lead,
getting outscored 70-44 in the final 24 minutes.
”They did what they do,” Burks said after Miami shot a
franchise-best 63.4 percent. ”They had fast-break plays and great
stops to win the game.”
Favors has scored at least 17 in three of four games since
missing two because of a back injury, but Trey Burke will try to
regroup after finishing with a season-low three points on 1-of-8
shooting against the Heat.
The Jazz have shown improvement on the road recently, scoring
105.8 per game while winning three of five away from home. They had
averaged just 86.1 points in losing their first nine in opposing
In the most recent meeting in Orlando, Gordon Hayward had 17
points in Utah’s 97-93 victory last Dec. 23. Afflalo finished with
a game-high 20, while Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and 16 boards
for the Magic.
Vucevic has totaled 32 rebounds in his last two games against
the Jazz, and averaged 13.5 rebounds in his last four overall.
Utah has won five straight meetings, including its last two
visits to Orlando.