The Orlando Magic just completed a two-game season sweep of the defending champion Golden State Warriors and will look to keep the momentum going when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
The Magic had lost nine straight road games against the Warriors before delivering an impressive 115-101 win on Saturday in the opener of a five-game trip.
After a dreadful 5-20 start, Orlando has won 10 of its past 15 games, including two victories against the Boston Celtics, last season’s other NBA Finals participant.
“Every day we come in, we believe we can give ourselves a chance to win if we follow the game plan and believe in ourselves,” Magic guard Markelle Fultz said. “These wins are helping us build more confidence.”
Rookie Paolo Banchero scored 25 points — his third straight and eighth overall outing of 25 or more — and Franz Wagner added 24 points. Fultz had a solid all-around outing with 16 points, seven assists and six steals.
Most impressive to coach Jamahl Mosley is that his squad limited Golden State to 37.5 percent shooting from the field.
Sure, the Warriors were without the Splash Brothers duo of Stephen Curry (elbow) and Klay Thompson (knee), but Mosley saw the energy extended while producing stellar results.
“I like the way we impacted shots,” Mosley said. “We protected each other, and we communicated. I thought that was one part of growth that was really good to see from our guys.”
The Magic are looking for a season split with the Kings after dropping a dramatic 126-123 overtime decision in Orlando on Nov. 5.
Sacramento star De’Aaron Fox was the hero when he drained a game-winning 3-pointer from in excess of 30 feet as time expired.
Fox scored a season-best 37 points in that outing. Banchero also achieved season highs of 33 points and 16 rebounds while Wagner scored 31 points.
Fox nearly hit another long game-winner on Saturday night but his heave from just inside the midcourt line bounced off the back of the rim as time expired as the Kings lost 136-134 to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.
Fox recorded 34 points and nine assists, while fellow standout Domantas Sabonis had 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
“He stays ready,” Sabonis said of Fox. “He knows we need him in crunch time, and he can get any shot he wants. He was great again.”
It was the 16th double-double in a row for Sabonis to break the franchise mark set by DeMarcus Cousins during the 2013-14 season.
Kings coach Mike Brown was pleased with his club’s offensive showing against the Lakers, but he was disturbed by the game-long defensive issues.
“We have to figure out, somehow, someway, how to stop people,” Brown said. “Defensively, we are not good at all. … We can score, but we’re terrible defensively.”
Sacramento is near the bottom of the NBA while allowing 117.3 points per game, but things have been worse lately. The Kings have given up at least 120 points in nine of the past 13 contests.
Sacramento is 0-2 on a five-game homestand that began with Wednesday’s 120-117 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Kings have defeated the Magic three straight times and nine of the past 12.
–Field Level Media