The Orlando Magic broke out of their road funk by snapping the league’s second-longest home winning streak their last time out.
To win back-to-back road contests for the first time since early December, they’ll have to end an even more impressive run.
The Memphis Grizzlies look to extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 11 on Monday night when they face the Magic, who will try for their fourth straight victory.
Orlando (29-15) had dropped nine of 11 away from Amway Arena heading into Saturday’s game in Charlotte, where the Bobcats were 18-4 and had won nine straight.
Charlotte overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime, but the Magic’s defense took over and Jameer Nelson(notes) outscored the Bobcats 6-3 in the extra period to secure a 106-95 win.
“That’s the best five minutes of defense we’ve played all year,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “… I would have rather closed it out in the fourth quarter and finished better than we did. But in retrospect, now after the game, that was a great game for us to have.”
Orlando has not won consecutive contests away from home since an eight-game road win streak from Nov. 10-Dec. 8. Earning that elusive victory Monday night could be quite a challenge.
Memphis (23-19) shot 39.2 percent against Oklahoma City on Friday, but Rudy Gay’s(notes) jumper with 1.3 seconds left - the last of his 25 points - gave the Grizzlies an 86-84 win, their 10th straight at FedEx Forum.
Memphis, one win from tying its victory total of last season, improved to 13-2 at home when Gay scores at least 17 points.
The Magic won’t have to think too hard to remember another clutch shot from Gay. He hit an 18-footer at the buzzer when Orlando visited Oct. 31, 2008, giving him a game-high 29 points and Memphis an 86-84 victory.
Gay averaged 24.8 points in his last four games against the Magic.
Dwight Howard(notes) had 14 points and 14 rebounds in that game, but turned the ball over five times and battled foul trouble against Marc Gasol(notes), who chipped in 10 points in what was the first home game of his rookie season.
Howard may have his hands even more full Monday. Gasol has upped his scoring average from 11.9 last season to 14.8 while shooting 60.4 percent - second-best in the league and slightly ahead of Howard’s 59.8.
Gasol has been even better at home, scoring 15.9 points per game and shooting 63.5 percent.
The biggest difference from last season’s 24-win team to this season’s playoff contender, however, has been Zach Randolph(notes). The Grizzlies’ leading scorer at 20.9 points per game, Randolph has averaged 25.8 points and 14.4 rebounds during the 10-game home streak, and Memphis is 19-6 when he scores 20 or more.
Randolph averaged 21.4 points but shot 41.7 percent in his last seven games against the Magic while playing for Portland, New York and the Los Angeles Clippers.
He averaged 26.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists in his last six games against Memphis while with New Jersey.