The Orlando Magic have picked the wrong time to play their worst basketball of the season.
Still looking to clinch a playoff spot, the struggling Magic hope to snap a season-high four-game losing streak as they host the Toronto Raptors at TD Waterhouse Centre.
Orlando hasn’t looked like a team vying for a postseason spot of late. That point was emphasized in Sunday’s 114-93 loss at Houston. The Magic allowed the Rockets to shoot better than 50 percent and were outrebounded 46-28.
“They played like they were fighting for the playoffs and we played like we were already in and that’s not the case,” Magic coach Doc Rivers said. “This was the first night in years that I thought our team just caved in and gave up.”
Orlando, which hadn’t lost four in a row since March 1-6, 2002, is currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings with five to play. The team’s magic number to clinch is three.
Orlando has given up 114.5 point per game while getting outscored by an average of 14.3 during its skid.
Tracy McGrady was the only starter to score in double figures with 28 points on Sunday. The rest of the starting unit combined for just 14.
“I dont know why we are playing this way,” said McGrady, who has been bothered by a strained rib muscle on his right side. “Being a young team, maybe we don’t know what this is all about.
“Its not final that we are going to be in the playoffs and everybody on this team has to realize that.”
The Magic face a Toronto team that is out of playoff contention and playing without several key players due to injuries.
Toronto lost its third in a row in Tuesday’s 89-83 setback at Miami.
Alvin Williams scored 16 points as the Raptors lost on the road for the eighth time in nine games.
STANDINGS: Raptors - 7th place, 23 GB, Central Division. Magic - 4th place, 9 GB, Atlantic Division.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Raptors - F Michael Bradley, F Chris Jefferies, C Jelani McCoy, G Morris Peterson, G Alvin Williams. Magic - F Gordan Giricek, F Drew Gooden, C Shawn Kemp, G Jacque Vaughn, G McGrady.
TEAM LEADERS: Raptors - Carter, 20.6 ppg; Jerome Williams, 9.1 rpg; Alvin Williams, 5.4 apg. Magic - McGrady, 32.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 5.5 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Raptors, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 16; Raptors, 99-97. At Toronto, the Raptors shot 52 percent (40-of-77) from the field and were led by Alvin Williams’ 22 points. McGrady scored 36 points for the Magic.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Raptors - 9-29 on the road; Magic - 24-15 at home.