The Orlando Magic's Monday Malaise

The Orlando Magic take on the NBA-worst Cleveland Cavaliers this evening for a chance to earn their third straight win, but they also have a chance to end a quirky streak: they've lost each of their last five games played on a Monday. Indeed, their last victory on a Monday was January 3rd against the Golden State Warriors, the night Hedo Turkoglu picked up his only triple-double of the season.

The Magic own a 4-8 record (.333) on Mondays this season, compared to 40-18 (.690) on all other days. Twelve games is hardly a meaningful sample from which to draw data--this post is really just for fun--but it does seem strange that Orlando rarely brings its best game on the first night of the week. Among their notable Monday losses:

  • December 6th vs. Atlanta Hawks: Orlando mustered only 74 points in this contest, its second-lowest total of the season, in setting the sport back five decades against a mediocre-at-best Hawks team. Dwight Howard is the only Magic starter that night still in the playing rotation, as Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon have moved to spot duty, while Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis were traded less than two weeks later.

  • January 24th vs. Detroit Pistons: The Pistons' trio of lanky scoring forwards Tayshaun Prince, Tracy McGrady, and Austin Daye ripped into the Magic for 20 points apiece in what has to rank among the most inexplicable defeats during Stan Van Gundy's tenure coaching the Magic. Detroit, which stood at 17-27 going into the game, built a 10-point halftime lead in the Magic's gym, and only a 31-point fourth quarter from the hosts made the final score look less awful. Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu, the Magic's starting wings, scored 10 points on 5-of-19 shooting.

  • January 31st at Memphis Grizzlies: Another poor defensive outing by Orlando in this game, as it allowed Grizzlies point guard Michael Conley to run roughshod over it. The fourth-year pro shot 9-of-14 for 26 points while adding 11 assists and 2 steals in arguably the best all-around performance of his career. Worse, the Grizzlies put the game away in the third quarter, doubling the Magic up by a 32-16 margin. The Magic connected on just 8 of their 32 three-point tries.

  • March 14th at L.A. Lakers: The Magic visited the two-time defending champions and wound up placing all five of their starters in double figures, with Brandon Bass adding 9 off the bench, which are great indicators on their own. But the Lakers outgunned the Magic, 56-38, in the second half. Howard committed thrice as many turnovers (9) as the Lakers did as a team.

Should the Magic somehow manage to lose tonight--and if they're ever going to lose to a team as miserable as Cleveland, it'd be on a Monday--they'll have just two more chances to end their odd losing streak: March 28th at the New York Knicks and April 11th at the Philadelphia 76ers in the season's penultimate game.

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