NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 21st (All times Eastern)
Sacramento Kings (7-18) at Orlando Magic (8-18), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Orlando Magic will try to pick up some momentum Saturday night when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to Amway Center.
The Magic have struggled badly in December, going 2-8 thus far. Their most recent setback was an ugly one, an 86-82 home loss to the Utah Jazz, who had only three road wins prior to Wednesday.
The Jazz sprung out to a 10-point lead at the half, but Orlando closed the gap a bit. The Magic took the final 24 minutes by six, but it was not enough to earn a win in the start of a six-game homestand.
"If we had the type of effort from the second half in the first half, it would have been our game from the jump," Orlando forward Tobias Harris said.
Jameer Nelson paced the Magic with 17 points and Harris and Nikola Vucevic both finished with 14. Both also registered double-doubles with Vucevic grabbing 14 rebounds and Harris 10.
Glen Davis chipped in 12 points and E'Twaun Moore added 10 for the second unit.
The Magic will welcome the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors on this homestand.
The Kings have dropped three straight and those three setbacks coincide with a southeastern road trip. At 2-8, Sacramento owns the worst road mark in the Western Conference.
The Kings fell in South Beach, 122-103 on Friday to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. Over their last two, the Kings have allowed an average of 123 points per game.
"I'm looking at everything from a defensive perspective and we didn't have anybody that gave a good defensive effort tonight," Kings head coach Michael Malone said.
Against the Heat, DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Rookie Ben McLemore added 20 points, while all five Kings starters scored in double figures.
The Kings, who have dropped five of six, finish the road trip on Saturday, then head home for two straight.
The Kings have won two straight against the Magic, including last season's matchup in Orlando. Sacramento has also won its last two stops in the Magic Kingdom.
12/21 10:55:29 ET