(Sports Network) - The Orlando Magic have struggled finding a way to win games
down the stretch and it has resulted in the club's longest losing streak in
nearly seven years.
The Magic head out west to begin a four-game road trip on Monday night, hoping
to avoid their ninth straight setback in the opener against the Portland
Orlando finished up a winless four-game homestand on Saturday with a 114-106
defeat to the New York Knicks, carrying an eight-point lead into the fourth
quarter before getting outscored 33-17 in the frame. The Magic had won the
third quarter by a 34-22 margin.
Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo each scored 29 points for the Magic, who have
dropped eight straight for the first time since Feb. 6-22, 2006. Nikola
Vucevic finished with 11 points and 18 rebounds in the loss, his 15th double-
double of the season.
"We have to learn how to win, if that makes sense," said Afflalo. "The coaches
are doing a great job in term of the schemes and game plans. We're definitely
competing hard as players, but we need to learn how to win."
All eight losses have come since forward Glen Davis suffered a sprained left
shoulder that has him on the sidelines, and five have been by four points or
less. Another close setback tonight would give Orlando its longest slide since
dropping 13 straight from March 13-April 10, 2004.
Portland's recent run also presents Orlando with another challenge. The Trail
Blazers have won 10 of their last 13 and Saturday's 102-97 victory over the
Minnesota Timberwolves improved the club to 9-2 in games decided by six points
or less this season.
Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews both knocked down five 3-pointers and
finished with 26 points as Portland tied a franchise record with 16 makes from
behind the 3-point line.
"We got hot, we were taking good ones and shots were falling for us," Matthews
said. "The team was finding us and the ball was moving and we were able to
knock them down."
Damian Lillard added 20 points and six assists for the Blazers, who went 3-1
on a four-game road trip. LaMarcus Aldridge donated 14 points and nine
rebounds to the win.
"Going into this road trip we talked about what it would take to win on the
road from an individual and team standpoint," noted Blazers coach Terry
Stotts. "We are pretty determined and we went into some places that are pretty
difficult to play and came up with the win."
It was the Magic who came into Portland last season and picked up a victory,
grabbing a 107-104 victory in the only meeting between the teams. They snapped
a three-game series losing streak thanks to seven different players scoring in
double figures, led by J.J. Redick's 17 points.
Aldridge had 23 points and eight rebounds in the loss, while Matthews finished
with 17 points.
The Sports Network