Magic aim to keep playoff hopes alive against Kings
(Sports Network) – The Orlando Magic are fighting for their playoff lives and
will continue to do so tonight when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to Amway
Orlando continues to slide down the Eastern Conference standings and had lost
three games in a row until Wednesday’s 101-90 win over Utah. The team is
currently in a race with four other squads for the last two playoff spots in
the conference, with little separation between the clubs.
Dwight Howard posted 31 points and 15 rebounds against the Jazz and Hedo
Turkoglu donated 22 points and eight rebounds for the Magic, who are 20-13 at
home this season. Grant Hill added 12 points.
Tony Battie missed 16 games with a fractured right thumb, but returned to the
starting lineup against Utah and had eight points in over 29 minutes of
action. However, forward Darko Milicic (strained lower back) is questionable
for tonight’s contest.
After tonight’s game, the Magic hit the road for a quick two-game swing
against Miami and Toronto, two teams above them in the conference standings.
The Kings, meanwhile, have lost the first three games of their current five-
game road swing, including a 103-97 setback to Miami on Friday. Ron Artest had
a game-high 32 points and 11 boards for the Kings, who have dropped five in a
Mike Bibby tallied 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while Shareef Abdur-Rahim
had 18 points. Sacramento is just 10-23 on the road this campaign and will
conclude its swing on Monday in Atlanta.
Despite their recent losing skid and the fact that the club is in last place
in the Pacific Division, the Kings are only two games out of a playoff spot.
Orlando has won two straight over the Kings and will got for the two-game
series sweep tonight. Jameer Nelson’s game-winning three-pointer with 1.7
seconds left lifted the Magic over the Kings, 92-89, on December 4.