After a 2-2 week, the Orlando Magic have split their last 12 games and own a record of 19-43, which leaves just one victory shy for their total all of last season. The Magic have the third-worst record in the NBA, and are three games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (15-45) and six games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks (11-47). They are two games behind the Boston Celtics (20-40), and 2.5 games behind the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers (both 20-39).
Orlando will be considerable underdogs in both their games this week. Here is the schedule:
Wednesday, March 5th: Houston Rockets at Magic, 7:00 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Florida
Dwight Howard makes his second return to Orlando in an opposing uniform, but in a Rockets jersey instead of a Lakers one. Howard has helped Houston to a 40-19 record, as it is battling the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs out West. The Rockets and Clippers are in a virtual tie for the fourth seed, and trail third-seed Portland by just a game.
The Rockets average the third-most points in the league, along with the third-best effective field goal percentage and best free throw rate. Shooting guard James Harden, who averages 24.5 points along with 5.6 assists per game on outstanding 60.4 percent True Shooting, leads them. Howard averages 18.9 points per game along with 12.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. He has even improved his free-throw shooting a bit to 54.8 percent.
The Rockets beat the Magic in Houston on December 8th, 98-88, as Harden had a double-double of 27 points and 10 assists, with Howard grabbing 22 rebounds. Houston will be going for the two-game season sweep of the Magic.
Saturday, March 8th: Magic at San Antonio Spurs, 8:30 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Florida
The Spurs, the best three-point shooting team in the NBA at 39.0 percent, are once again challenging for the number-one seed in the West at 43-16, trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder by 1.5 games. They are primed to make their move with the return of point guard Tony Parker, who had sat out a couple of weeks with general body soreness. Parker leads the Spurs, averaging 17.7 points per game along with 6.2 assists on 56.1 percent True Shooting. Big man Tim Duncan, who will turn 38 years old in April, averages a double-double of 15.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Shooting guard Manu Ginobili averages 12.1 points per game and key free-agent acquisition Marco Belinelli averages 11.8 points per game on 62.1 percent True Shooting.
The Spurs will be going for the season sweep of the Magic, as they easily handled them in Orlando on November 29th, winning by a 109-91 final as Duncan tallied 19 points and nine rebounds.