The Orlando Magic have one of the league's best road records. Considering their struggles at home, a Western road trip may be just what they need.
The Magic look to rebound from a pair of home losses when they begins their second lengthy Western Conference swing this season on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.
Orlando (22-13) won four of five in its first trip, including victories over Portland, Golden State and the Lakers between Nov. 26-Dec. 3. The Magic are only 7-8 at Amway Arena, but have won 15 of their 20 road games.
They'll also face the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver and Utah before heading home.
Since winning five of its first seven at home, Orlando lost six of eight, including the last two - a one-point loss to New Jersey on Wednesday and a two-point defeat to Houston on Friday.
Orlando thought it had forced overtime against the Rockets when Adonal Foyle tipped in Rashard Lewis' missed layup at the buzzer, but officials waved off the basket.
"I didn't think we got great performances out of a lot of people, especially our keys guys, but we fought and fought and stayed in the game," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I'm not going to summon a lot of anger. It's the way it goes sometimes."
Dwight Howard has been the key to the Magic's rise to the top of the Southeast Division. The fourth-year center is averaging a career-best 22.4 points and a league-high 15.2 rebounds.
But like his team, he's played his best basketball on the road. Howard is averaging 23.8 points and 16.1 rebounds away from home as opposed to 20.5 and 14.0, respectively, at Amway Arena. He also blocks more shots per game and has better field-goal and free-throw percentages on the road.
Howard is averaging 14.2 points against Sacramento in his career.
"We're fortunate this year to have the record that we have on the road, and to be playing the way we're playing on the road," Magic guard Carlos Arroyo said. "But we need to bring the same at home."
Sacramento (12-20) has lost six of its last seven games, partly due to a long injury list. The Kings have been without their four leading scorers from last season - Kevin Martin, Mike Bibby, Ron Artest and Shareef Abdur-Rahim - due to various injuries since the beginning of the season.
Bibby has yet to play a game, Abdur-Rahim is out for the season, Artest is expected to be out until the end of January, and Martin, who was averaging 24.5 points when he strained his groin in early December, will miss at least another week.
The Kings are returning from a three-game road trip that started off with a win over the Knicks, but ended with a pair of close losses - a four-point defeat at Cleveland on Friday and a 94-93 loss at Chicago on Sunday.
John Salmons had seven of Sacramento's 18 turnovers, including a traveling violation with the score tied and six seconds left.
"Down the stretch, you've got to make plays,'' coach Reggie Theus said. "You can't turn the ball over. About a minute or so to go, we turned it over three times.''
Despite his turnover problems on Sunday, Salmons has been the Kings' best player with Martin out. He's averaged 16.8 points - up from 8.5 last season - and 4.9 rebounds in 2007-08.
Sacramento commits an NBA-worst 16.7 turnovers per game and also averages the fewest rebounds (39.6) and assists (17.9) in the Western Conference.
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