The Orlando Magic dropped their sixth straight game Friday against the Sacramento Kings, 103-83, tying their previous season-long skid. Their 33.3-percent shooting was their second-worst outing of 2013/14.
DeMarcus Cousins stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a block to lead the Kings, and Rudy Gay added an efficient 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists as Sacramento completed the two-game series sweep of the Magic. For Orlando, Tobias Harris contributed 16 points and six rebounds, while Glen Davis--tasked with checking Cousins for much of the night--scored 12 with 12 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season, but he shot just 4-of-12 from the floor.
The Kings dominated the glass, 54-37, against a Magic team once again playing without Nik Vučević. The third-year center, who leads the team in rebounding, is out indefinitely due to a concussion.
Despite letting the Kings open the game by shooting 6-of-6 for 12 points, the Magic built a 24-18 lead after the first period as their defense stiffened: Sacramento missed 14 of its next 17 shots over the rest of the quarter, enabling Orlando to take a small lead behind seven points from Arron Afflalo and another six from Victor Oladipo.
But in the second, Sacramento rallied behind its bench. Jimmer Fredette led the Kings' reserves with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in the second frame. As a whole, the Kings' second unit scored eight baskets, compared to just four field goals for the entire Magic team, which also turned the ball over six times. The Magic didn't necessarily take bad shots, but nonetheless failed to convert. Their wayward shooting helped to explain how the Kings took a six-point lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, the game continued to go the Kings' way: the hosts used a 12-2 run in the early stages of the period to build an 11-point lead, their largest of the night. A pair of Afflalo foul shots brought it into single-figures, but the Kings restored the lead to 11 two possessions later, a level they'd maintain through the rest of the period as Orlando's shooting woes continued. Notably, Afflalo and Jameer Nelson--two of the Magic's veteran leaders--lagged back on transition defense in frustration after no-calls on consecutive Orlando shot attempts. The team played frustratedly, but did not channel that energy into productivity.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn rode his starters for much of the third period, only pulling Nelson for E'Twaun Moore with 1:46 to go. The Kings tacked nine points onto their halftime lead during that long stretch with Orlando's starting five on the floor. The Magic snuck to within 12 points on a Harris stick-back in the final minute of the third.
Maurice Harkless opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, drawing Orlando to within single-digits for the first time since the 7:24 mark of the third. Though their offense sharpened up, the Magic couldn't put a serious dent into the Kings' lead.
But with Orlando still hanging around, Kings coach Michael Malone went to an unconventionally tall lineup featuring the 6-foot-8 Gay at shooting guard and the 6-foot-9 Derrick Williams at small forward. That Sacramento group got off to an inauspicious start, with Williams stepping out of bounds and Cousins goaltending a spinning Oladipo drive, but it put the game away for good: it scored the game's next eight points to take an 18-point lead with 5:25 to play, prompting Vaughn to pull three of his starters. On a Sacramento fast break moments later, Cousins threw a no-look bounce pass to a streaking Williams for a two-handed windmill jam, bringing the lead to 22 points.