The Orlando Magic bounced back from their worst losing streak of the season with a perfect four-game homestand. Now they’ll get the chance to avenge the defeat that sparked that losing streak and try to halt a different one when they visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
The Magic (21-14) won all four contests during their recent home stretch, including an 87-79 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Orlando already boasts one of the NBA’s best defenses, allowing 91.7 points per game, and has been even better during their recent run, giving up an average of 76.8.
They’ve held three of their last four opponents under 35 percent shooting, and limited the Celtics to 31.5 percent. The Magic weren’t much better Sunday, hitting a season-low 37.5 percent (27 of 72) and turning the ball over 23 times.
“You’re going to have games where it’s not going to be so pretty,” said Magic guard Jameer Nelson, who had six points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Prior to their winning streak, things certainly weren’t pretty for the Magic as they lost a season-high four in a row, allowing 106 or more points in three of those defeats. The Southeast Division leader gave up its most points of the season in a 117-108 loss to the Warriors on Dec. 22, which kicked off that losing streak.
Baron Davis scored a season-high 38 points to lift Golden State to the victory, its third in the last four meetings between these teams.
The Magic are hoping for a better performance this time around as they open a four-game road trip and a stretch of six of seven away from home. Twelve of their last 15 games have been at home.
Orlando has lost a season-high four straight road games since winning at Sacramento on Dec. 4.
Golden State (18-18) is opening a three-game homestand seeking its season-best seventh consecutive win at Oracle Arena, having gone unbeaten at home since losing to Milwaukee on Dec. 2.
The Warriors have recorded all but four of their wins on their home floor, going 14-5 there while averaging 109.3 points. They are coming off a poor defensive showing in Phoenix on Sunday, though, when they allowed the Suns to shoot 51.9 percent in a 128-105 loss.
Golden State committed 25 turnovers, one below its season high, with Monta Ellis responsible for nine of them. The Warriors guard did lead the team with 22 points while Davis added 17 despite playing with two sore wrists. Andris Biedrins grabbed a career high-tying 17 rebounds.
“We’re just an ordinary team as far I can see,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said. “When you have injuries and you’re ordinary, it hurts more than if you’re really good and deep.”
Orlando’s Grant Hill returned Sunday after missing three games with a sore left foot and scored a team-high 21 points. Hill is averaging 15.3 points this season, but 19.0 in the four games when he’s returned to the lineup after missing time.
“I’ve been around long enough and I know what I need to do,” Hill said. “In the case of missing a week, my legs weren’t really all there and I felt a little sluggish, but I just need to get a practice under me where I can fine-tune a little bit.”