A matchup with the scuffling Cleveland Cavaliers could allow the Magic to start picking up some steam.
Seeking a sixth home win in seven contests, Orlando tries for an eighth consecutive victory over the Cavaliers on Friday night.
The Magic's third loss in four games came in emphatic fashion Monday, as the club fell 85-59 to a Chicago team playing without Derrick Rose. The Bulls held Orlando (30-18) to its lowest scoring output at home in more than 11 years.
The Magic, though, bounced back Wednesday with a 103-93 win over Phoenix. Anderson had 29 points and went 7 of 12 from 3-point range while Howard dominated inside, scoring 28 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
"It's been a long time coming to feel like that in a game where I feel like I'm doing something right for a change," said Howard, who had scored 18 points in each of the previous three games. "My teammates did a great job of finding me when I was open ... (I need to) just keep playing the game like it's supposed to be played and don't worry about what happens, just go out there and play hard. That's what I'm trying to do."
While the Magic revolve around Howard, they become all the more formidable when Anderson steps up. Orlando is 12-1 when Anderson scores at least 22 points.
"(Wednesday) was a night where we could move the ball and set some screens and really just be more active," Anderson said. "I think that's something we need to do more often. We just need to come out and engage, have a ton of energy, and when we do that, a bunch of guys get open shots and scoring was pretty evenly distributed. It was because of our energy."
The Magic, winners of 10 of their last 12 following a day off, have outscored the Cavaliers (17-27) by an average of 10.4 points during their seven-game run in the series. Howard had 19 points, 16 boards and a season-best eight blocks during a 102-94 win over Cleveland on Feb. 3.
The Cavaliers are hoping to avoid their fifth loss in six games after suffering a 103-102 overtime defeat at Atlanta on Wednesday. Cleveland, which led by 16 early on and six in the extra period, came up short despite outrebounding the Hawks 54-38 and limiting them to 39.8 percent shooting.
Rookie standout Kyrie Irving, who had 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists but also seven turnovers, missed a potential winning jumper with a second remaining in OT.
"It was a tough loss ... Now we have to move on to the next game," said Irving, who had 18 points but missed 14 of 21 shots versus the Magic last month. "I thought my shot at the end was in, but it's the law of averages. They are not all going to go in."
The Cavaliers are allowing 104.6 points per game over their last 12. The Magic have won 12 of 14 on their own court when scoring at least 100.
Cleveland's Daniel Gibson could miss a second straight contest with a sprained left ankle. He is day-to-day.
- Orlando Magic
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Ryan Anderson
- Dwight Howard