The Orlando Magic are coming off a 1-3 week after breaking their ten-game losing streak with a victory over the Boston Celtics Sunday night. The Magic concluded the first half of season with the second-worst record in the league at 11-30, which is 3.5 games better than the last-place Milwaukee Bucks, who are 7-33. The Philadelphia 76ers, who have the third-worst record in the league, are 13-27 and 2.5 games ahead of Orlando.
The Magic have two home games and two away games this week, and will likely be underdogs in each game, even though they have a combined four wins in five games against three of their opponents. Here's a look at the schedule:
Tuesday, January 21st, Magic at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Florida
After a dreadful start to the season, the Nets have improved somewhat despite losing leading scorer Brook Lopez for the season with a broken right foot, as they are in eighth place in the East with a 16-22 record and have won 7 of their last 10 games. The Nets have also been without point guard Deron Williams for two weeks with a sprained left ankle. Shooting guard Joe Johnson averages 16.2 points per game on 55.2 percent True Shooting. The two major off-season acquisitions, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, are averaging a combined 20.1 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting from the field. The Magic defeated Brooklyn in Orlando back in early November, 107-86, their most lopsided victory of the season to date.
Wednesday, January 22nd, Atlanta Hawks at Magic, 7:00 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Florida
This will be the Magic's final game with the Hawks in 2013/14. Orlando has had success against Atlanta this season, beating them in two out of three games, including a 109-102 victory in Orlando in late December. Despite having their problems with the Magic, the Hawks are currently tied with the Toronto Raptors for third place in the East with a 20-19 record, though they have lost their leading scorer for the season, big man Al Horford, with a torn pectoral muscle suffered in late December. Power forward Paul Millsap averages 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, while point guard Jeff Teague averages 16.6 points and 7.6 assists. Sharpshooting guard Kyle Korver averages 12.2 points per game on eye-popping 65.3 percent True Shooting.
Friday, January 24th, Los Angeles Lakers at Magic, 7:00 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Florida
The injury-riddled Lakers, missing stars Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant with injuries, are well out of contention in the competitive Western Conference in 12th place with a 16-25 record. They are currently on a two-game winning streak after road victories against the Celtics and Raptors. Shooting guard Nick Young leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.4 points per game, while center Pau Gasol is nearly averaging a double/double of 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Point guard Kendall Marshall, whom the Lakers signed in December, has averaged over nine assists per game. This game will be the Lakers' only visit to Orlando in 2013/14.
Sunday, January 26th, Magic at New Orleans Pelicans, 6:00 PM Eastern Fox Sports Florida
The Pelicans are also out of contention in the West with a 15-24 record, and have suffered serious injuries earlier in January to two of their best players, former Magic power forward Ryan Anderson, who was averaging 19.8 points per game, and point guard Jrue Holiday. Both players are out indefinitely as Anderson has a herniated disc in his back, while Holiday is dealing with a stress fracture. Second-year big man Anthony Davis is having a breakout year, averaging 20.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game. Shooting guard Eric Gordon is averaging 16.3 points per game on 54.7 percent True Shooting. The Magic will be trying for the season sweep, as they beat the Pelicans, 110-90, in early November.
NBA League Pass is offering a free mid-season preview all this week until January 26th on cable, so Magic fans across the country with cable television can check out the team this week.