Magic-Warriors Preview

After narrowly defeating one of the Western Conference’s worst

teams, the Orlando Magic are hoping for a much better effort

against another one.

Seeking a season-best fourth consecutive road win, the

struggling Magic will try for a sixth straight victory over the

Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

Orlando (41-24) sits fourth in the East and is chasing Miami for

the Southeast Division lead but has played poorly since beating the

Heat last Thursday. The Magic followed that win by losing

back-to-back home games for the first time since December,

averaging 83.0 points and 17.5 turnovers against Chicago and


They were better offensively Wednesday night to open a five-game

road trip, but they were outrebounded by 15 and trailed heading

into the fourth quarter against a Sacramento team which entered

with the West’s second-worst record.

Jameer Nelson, though, scored 12 of his season high-tying 26

points over the final 12 minutes and led Orlando to a 106-102


“We played poorly. We didn’t put much into the game, got crushed

on the glass. I’m not happy, but we got a win. We’ll take it and

move on,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We’ve said (we’ll change) a

lot. We say a lot of things.”

Dwight Howard returned from an automatic one-game suspension for

picking up his 16th technical foul and recorded 16 points and 15

rebounds, extending his double-double streak to 22 games – two shy

of a career high.

Jason Richardson, who spent his first six seasons with the

Warriors, has made 17 of 26 from 3-point range in the last four

games while averaging 20.3 points. Richardson is averaging 22.8

points against his former team – his most versus any opponent.

While the Magic had a hard time overcoming the Kings, they’ve

had little difficulty against Golden State, winning the last five

meetings by an average of 19.6 points. Orlando won 110-90 on Jan. 3

in the lone meeting this season as Howard had 22 points and 17

rebounds, Richardson added 20 points and eight Magic players scored

in double figures.

The Warriors (28-36), who are 12th in the West, return home

following a 2-5 road trip which dropped them seven games back of

Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot.

They lost 94-90 at New Jersey on Wednesday as Monta Ellis was

held to 16 points, nearly nine below his season average.

“We’re not happy at all. We won two games on (the trip). That’s

not enough to get us where we want to be,” Ellis said. “We just

have to move on from this one and grind the rest of the 19, 18

games we have left.”

Golden State, loser of seven of nine overall, has been held to

an average of 86.0 points on 38.2 percent shooting in its last two

home contests.

The Warriors are 2-6 at home when scoring less than 100 points.

The Magic, who have won their last four trips to Oakland, have

limited teams to an average of 95.2 points during their last five

road games.

David Lee, who missed the Jan. 3 meeting with a bruised back,

has seven double-double in his last eight games.

Stephen Curry, scoring 17.9 points per game over his career, has

averaged 12.3 on 37.8 percent shooting in three games against