It's no secret the Orlando Magic have struggled defensively during their month-long malaise, but they've been particularly bad against teams with losing records.
Perhaps facing the Detroit Pistons twice in the next six days will get them headed in the right direction.
Orlando will try to avoid an eighth straight loss against a sub-.500 team on Tuesday night at The Palace when they look for a fourth straight win over the Pistons.
Since a 12-game stretch of allowing 98 points or fewer, Orlando (14-26) has given up 108.9 per contest while losing 10 of 12. The Magic have also dropped seven straight to opponents with losing records, allowing 113.0 per game in their last five such contests.
"We'll continue to work,' coach Jacque Vaughn said following Sunday's 111-105 home loss to 18-24 Dallas. "That's the best part of it is we've got games ahead of us and we'll continue to work and that's our best approach. We've been there so we know that this team is capable."
The Magic will have a few golden opportunities to end their struggles against sub-.500 teams. After visiting Detroit, they'll return home to face Toronto on Thursday before hosting the Pistons (15-25) again Sunday.
Orlando has already beaten Detroit twice this season, winning 110-106 in Auburn Hills on Nov. 16 and 90-74 five days later - the fewest points allowed by Orlando this season and the fewest scored by the Pistons.
Detroit, winner of eight of 12, is looking to build off Sunday's 103-88 victory over Boston. Playing just three days after losing 102-87 to New York in London, the road-weary Pistons held the Celtics to 17 fourth-quarter points and 39.8 percent shooting overall.
"It was a little frustrating taking a loss over in London," said rookie Andre Drummond, who grabbed seven rebounds and led six Pistons in double figures with 16 points. "We knew we had to bounce back."
Detroit outrebounded Boston 50-42 and has had a plus-7.2 margin on the glass during its 12-game surge. It needs Drummond and center Greg Monroe to keep up that strong work after getting outrebounded by 19 total in the two previous meetings with Orlando.
Drummond is among the league's leaders in rebounds per 48 minutes, and Monroe is averaging 16.4 points and 11.4 boards while recording a career high-tying five consecutive double-doubles.
The Magic have been outrebounded by 4.0 per contest since Glen Davis returned four games ago following an 11-game injury absence (sprained left shoulder).
Davis, though, is coming off his best effort since coming back, scoring 24 points with six rebounds and six assists on Sunday. He's averaged 18.8 points and 13.3 rebounds in his last four games against Detroit.
Nikola Vucevic, the Magic's leader with 11.1 boards per game, has nine double-doubles in the last 10 contests.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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