Jazz-Magic Preview

The Associated Press

With Arron Afflalo leading the way, the Orlando Magic closed out their road-heavy stretch on a positive note.

Now the Magic are hoping to end their struggles back in Orlando on Wednesday night when they open a six-game homestand against the lowly Utah Jazz.

After dropping five straight games to begin a stretch with eight of nine on the road, Orlando (8-17) regrouped to split its last four following an 83-82 victory in Chicago on Monday.

Afflalo finished with a team-best 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds, while Glen Davis and Jameer Nelson scored 14 apiece for the Magic, who won for the second time in three road games. They also nearly stole a victory with a late rally in Oklahoma City on Sunday before falling 101-98.

Afflalo has been a bright spot for an Orlando team that has averaged 89.9 points over its last seven contests overall. The shooting guard is averaging a team-best 21.6 points - more than five per game above his previous career high.

''To me, it's just about us getting healthy, putting it together, and getting some consistency,'' Afflalo said. "I feel once we get consistent with the things that we do well we're going to be pretty good.''

The Magic will attempt to get off to a strong start on the homestand against scuffling Utah, Sacramento and New York in the first three games.

Since allowing an average of 89.6 points during a 4-1 start at Amway Center, Orlando has given up 107.3 per game while dropping five of six there.

''I'm really looking forward to our personal home stretch back in Orlando and hopefully putting a streak together for once,'' Afflalo said.

The Magic should be able to tighten things up defensively against Utah (6-21), which ranks near the bottom of the Western Conference at 93.4 points per game.

The West-worst Jazz will attempt to rebound from consecutive double-digit losses after falling 100-84 to San Antonio on Saturday and 117-94 at Miami on Monday.

Alec Burks led the Jazz with a career-high 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting and seven assists against the Heat, while Derrick Favors added 17 points and seven rebounds in the opener of a five-game trip.

But Utah couldn't hang on to a three-point halftime lead, getting outscored 70-44 in the final 24 minutes.

''They did what they do,'' Burks said after Miami shot a franchise-best 63.4 percent. ''They had fast-break plays and great stops to win the game.''

Favors has scored at least 17 in three of four games since missing two because of a back injury, but Trey Burke will try to regroup after finishing with a season-low three points on 1-of-8 shooting against the Heat.

The Jazz have shown improvement on the road recently, scoring 105.8 per game while winning three of five away from home. They had averaged just 86.1 points in losing their first nine in opposing arenas.

In the most recent meeting in Orlando, Gordon Hayward had 17 points in Utah's 97-93 victory last Dec. 23. Afflalo finished with a game-high 20, while Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and 16 boards for the Magic.

Vucevic has totaled 32 rebounds in his last two games against the Jazz, and averaged 13.5 rebounds in his last four overall.

Utah has won five straight meetings, including its last two visits to Orlando.