The Orlando Magic had one of the league’s best road records last season, but they’ve been dreadful away from Amway Arena of late, losing seven of nine following eight consecutive victories.
The Magic try to become the only team with an active four-game winning streak at the Rose Garden on Friday night against the injury-riddled Trail Blazers, who with one more loss will eclipse their home total from last season.
Orlando (26-13) was 27-14 on the road in 2008-09, and came up with five more key victories on opponents’ home courts before reaching the NBA finals.
The Magic started 10-2 on the road this season, but have hardly been the same team lately. Orlando opened its four-game road trip with an impressive 109-88 win in Sacramento on Tuesday, but was outscored 65-44 in the second half of a 115-97 loss to Denver one night later in its third straight game without Vince Carter(notes).
“We clearly got totally dominated in the second half,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I’m very disappointed.”
Dwight Howard(notes) was held to eight points on 1 of 7 shooting a night after dominating the Kings with 30 points and 16 rebounds. The Magic fell to 6-8 when Howard is held to seven field-goal attempts or fewer.
Matt Barnes(notes) scored 28 points and has averaged 14.7 while shooting 60.0 percent in nine games since moving into the starting lineup, but Orlando needs more from Rashard Lewis(notes) and Jameer Nelson(notes).
Lewis has averaged 9.9 points on 34.3 percent shooting as the Magic have gone 2-5 over their past seven games, and Nelson’s been held to 7.8 points over his past four while shooting the exact same percentage.
“If we can’t get Jameer and Rashard going we’re going to struggle,” Van Gundy said. “I’ve got to find a way to get them going more offensively or we’re going to struggle offensively against good teams.”
Carter, whose status going forward is unclear, went 1 of 14 when Portland (24-16) visited Orlando on Dec. 19, but Howard’s 20 rebounds - part of a 54-35 advantage overall - helped the Magic overcome 42.1 percent shooting and 33 points from Roy to win 92-83.
That was Orlando’s sixth victory in seven games in the series. The Magic have won three straight in Portland, including a 109-108 win on Dec. 9, 2008, behind 27 from Lewis and 21 from Nelson.
Cleveland is the only other team with three consecutive wins in the Rose Garden after beating the Blazers 106-94 on Sunday, a seventh home loss that matched last season’s total in Portland.
The Blazers, though, bounced back with one of their best offensive performances of the season. Roy scored 22, LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) 21 and Andre Miller(notes) 19 as the Blazers shot a season-high 60.3 percent in a 120-108 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Roy, however, left with Portland up 30 late in the third quarter due to a strained right hamstring. He’s considered questionable to play Friday.
“(The hamstring has) seen better days,” Roy told the NBA’s official Web site. “It kind of grabbed on me a little bit, and I went downcourt and we were up 30, and I said, ‘Coach, I don’t have to play anymore. Could you maybe keep me out?’ It was pretty sore.”
One bit of encouraging news for Portland was the return of second-year guard Rudy Fernandez(notes), who hadn’t played since Dec. 5 due to back pain. Fernandez, who averaged 13.0 points against Orlando last season, had two points in 15 minutes.