Evan Fournier
Kings-Magic Preview
Evan Fournier

Kings-Magic Preview

Published Nov. 20, 2015 3:27 p.m. ET

Even when the Orlando Magic aren't playing well offensively, their play on the other end is giving them a chance to win.

They'll aim for a seventh victory in 10 games Saturday night against the visiting Sacramento Kings.

The Magic (6-6) won 104-101 in overtime against Minnesota on Wednesday despite shooting 37.3 percent. They held the Timberwolves to 41 second-half points to force the extra period after trailing by 14 at halftime.

They've shot 39.1 percent or worse in three victories but hold opponents to 42.3 to rank among the league leaders.


Evan Fournier put Orlando ahead with a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left in overtime and was 5 of 7 from beyond the arc with 26 points. Fournier is averaging 19.4 points compared to 12.0 in 2014-15, the seventh-largest increase in the NBA this season.

Elfrid Payton added 24 points and six rebounds while fellow starters Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic struggled. Oladipo was 0 for 6 with one point in 20 minutes after missing two games with a concussion, and Vucevic had eight points on 4-for-13 shooting.

Oladipo played seven minutes after halftime while Vucevic didn't see the floor at all over the final 29 minutes.

"I'm not trying to send messages," coach Scott Skiles said. "I mean, I get a fairly sizable check every two weeks to win games. That's what I'm trying to do. I felt like we got some good energy out of (backups)."

Orlando's bench also struggled, though, going 12 of 36 from the floor.

The Kings (4-9) showed improvement with a three-game winning streak but have since dropped back-to-back games at Atlanta and Miami.

DeMarcus Cousins will be back after serving a one-game suspension in Thursday's 116-109 loss to the Heat after his forearm shot to the head of Atlanta's Al Horford in Wednesday's defeat.

Sacramento fell to 0-5 without its All-Star big man, who is averaging 27.5 points and 11.1 rebounds. Rudy Gay also didn't return after suffering a shoulder injury on a drive to the basket in the third quarter, though he's expected to play.

"Our two superstars were out but guys stepped up when needed," Rajon Rondo said. "We were able to make a run at it but we weren't able to continue to get enough stops."

Rondo had 18 assists, 14 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing a fifth triple-double in seven games.

"He's playing like Rondo," Miami's Dwyane Wade said. "As a fan of the game, I'm just happy to see him healthy and when he's healthy he's one of the top point guards in this league. He's back to proving that."

The Kings continue this five-game trip having gone 0-4 on the road after not taking much advantage of an early home-heavy schedule.

Orlando shot 53.6 percent while winning both of last season's meetings. Oladipo played one of his best games as a pro in a 119-114 victory March 6, scoring 32 on 14-of-24 shooting with 10 assists.


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