The Orlando Magic are one of the best road teams in the NBA, but their current four-game swing did not begin on a positive note.
The Magic look to avoid their season-high fourth straight loss when they visit the lowly Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night in the first meeting between the teams in 2007-08.
Orlando (22-14) lost 104-100 to Sacramento on Tuesday. The Magic still own the most road wins (15) of any team in the league and have yet to lose consecutive games in an opposing arena this season.
The Southeast Division-leading Magic, however, will play four games in five nights on this trip and look to avoid a fifth straight road loss to the Clippers before visiting Denver on Friday and concluding the stretch on Saturday at Utah.
Dwight Howard had 29 points and 15 rebounds, while Rashard Lewis went 6-for-11 from 3-point range and finished with 22 points for the Magic in the loss to the Kings. Orlando allowed a Sacramento team missing three starters to shoot 50.0 percent from the field and hold on for the win despite being outscored 38-26 in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been coming out sluggish in the first half,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We are in a funk right now and need to figure it out.”
Howard, who topped the 20-point mark for the first time in five games, averages 22.6. Lewis, meanwhile, looks to continue his solid play against the Clippers after he averaged 29.0 points in three games versus Los Angeles last season while with Seattle.
The teams split the season series in 2006-07, with Orlando winning 91-86 on Jan. 2, 2007 to snap a four-game losing streak to Los Angeles in the most recent meeting.
The Clippers (10-21) lost 88-82 to San Antonio on Sunday for their second straight loss, while falling to 1-2 on a six-game homestand. They’ve also lost eight of their last nine.
Despite their latest defeat, the Clippers have some things to build on— they held the Spurs to 40.5 percent shooting, while keeping an opponent below 90 points for the second time in three games. San Antonio, though, went 25-for-36 from the free-throw line, while the Clippers made just 12 trips to the line.
“Overall, we did a decent job,” said Clippers center Chris Kaman, who had 20 points and 14 rebounds. “We played better than we have in the past. We did well defensively. It was there, but the last three minutes, we just didn’t finish, which has been a common problem for us.
“This is a step in the right direction.”
Kaman, who averages 18.1 points and 14.0 rebounds, bounced back after matching a season low with nine points in the Clippers’ 95-81 loss to New Orleans last Wednesday.
Kaman averages 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in his career against Orlando.