The Orlando Magic have little margin for error if they hope to reach the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
The Magic look for a split of their four-game homestand when they host the league-worst Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.
Orlando (34-41) holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but is just one game ahead of ninth-place Indiana. The Magic also trail seventh-place New Jersey by one game. Orlando and New Jersey also have a game in hand on Indiana.
“Every game is important. We’re in the last leg. Every game is important,” guard Keyon Dooling said. “We’re not really concentrating on New Jersey, but we’re watching them.”
The Magic have dropped three of four, including the last two games of their current homestand. Orlando, which plays four of its final six games on the road after wrapping up the homestand against the Grizzlies, took Wednesday’s 111-108 loss to Toronto especially hard.
“I’m tired of saying we’re still in it, because at some point if you keep saying it and you keep losing you won’t be in it,” said Grant Hill, who scored 19 points.
Hedo Turkoglu had a career-high 37 points after shooting just 24 percent from the field in his previous two games, but missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer.
“I was feeling good the whole game. I don’t know what happened; it came out,” Turkoglu said. “But we should have taken care of business before that and not (try to) win it on last-second shots.”
If recent history is any indication, bouncing back against Memphis won’t be easy. The Magic have dropped four straight and eight of nine against the Grizzlies since a 96-91 home win on Dec. 4, 2004.
However, the Grizzlies have lost four straight, including Friday’s 116-104 defeat to Golden State. Memphis has allowed 118.5 points per game during their skid and has been outscored by an average of more than 12 points per contest.
“We couldn’t come up with enough plays on offense,” said Pau Gasol, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds against the Warriors. “They made some big 3s and made a run when they needed to.”
Rookie Tarence Kinsey scored a career-best 28 points for his eighth straight game in double figures.
“I’m just trying to do anything I can to help the team win,” Kinsey said. “You have to continue to try and remain upbeat no matter what. I’ve been able to get a lot of confidence by getting to play a lot of minutes, and I’m trying to do my best to take advantage of the situation.”