The Sacramento Kings still are confident they are on the rise despite losing a season-high four straight games and get a chance to start proving their case when they host the road-weary Orlando Magic on Monday. Sacramento lost the four contests - all against teams in playoff position entering Sunday - by a total of 20 points after coughing up a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 127-123 setback against Golden State.
"It (stinks) to lose any type of game, but especially a game we compete from the start to the end," Kings forward Justin Jackson told the Sacramento Bee after scoring a career-high 28 points on Saturday. "Credit to them for hitting all their shots, but we all played extremely hard and I think we really left it out there, and that's all that really matters." The Kings, who have not made the playoffs since 2005-06, have won four straight meetings with the Magic after registering a 107-99 road triumph on Oct. 30 behind 25 points and 11 rebounds from Buddy Hield. Orlando led by 10 after one quarter on Sunday but shot 37.1 percent overall en route to a 106-96 setback against the Los Angeles Clippers for its third loss in the first four contests of its six-game road trip. "I told them I thought our effort was more than good enough. I thought we competed well," Magic coach Steve Clifford told reporters. "(But) you gotta make shots, and I thought we missed a ton of makeable shots."
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Florida (Orlando), NBCS California (Sacramento) LINE: Kings -5.5
ABOUT THE MAGIC (17-22): Nikola Vucevic, who has scored at least 22 points in five of his last seven games, did just about all he could Sunday with 16 on 7-of-17 shooting, 24 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks. Aaron Gordon added 17 points against the Clippers but has struggled from 3-point range of late - making just 5-of-21 attempts over his last five contests. Orlando's third-leading scorer, Evan Fournier has shot the ball well in his last five games - connecting on 52.8 percent overall and 9-of-20 from beyond the arc - but missed 10-of-13 shots against the Kings in October.
ABOUT THE KINGS (19-20): Hield drained a career-high eight 3-pointers on Saturday and has averaged 27.3 points over his last four games, going 22-for-41 from beyond the arc in that stretch. Jackson stepped up Saturday after totaling 13 points in his previous three games while Nemanja Bjelica has raised his production level over the last three contests, averaging 14.3 points and 10 rebounds. Second-leading scorer De'Aaron Fox (17.8 points, team-high 7.5 assists) hopes to bounce back from a 3-of-12 shooting performance against Golden State.
1. Orlando rookie C Mo Bamba has accumulated 28 points, 30 rebounds and 10 blocks over his last four games.
2. Sacramento G Iman Shumpert (finger) was held out of Saturday's contest and is considered day-to-day.
3. Magic F Jonathon Simmons is just 5-for-19 in his last two games after missing the previous two with an ankle injury.
PREDICTION: Kings 114, Magic 102 Bet Now
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