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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 11th (All times eastern)

Cleveland Cavaliers (39-37) at Orlando Magic (35-41), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Orlando Magic will attempt to avoid sliding closer to playoff extinction this evening, when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Waterhouse Centre.

Orlando has lost three straight and four of its last five games, including a 114-102 defeat to the Detroit Pistons at TD Waterhouse Centre on Friday.

DeShawn Stevenson scored 25 points to lead the Magic, who have lost 14 of their last 18 to fall a precarious four games out of playoff contention with six contests to play. The Magic are two losses away from being eliminated from the postseason race.

Steve Francis registered 23 points and nine assists, while Dwight Howard added 21 points and 13 rebounds in the game. Jameer Nelson chipped in 10 points off the bench in the defeat.

Orlando shot 49.4 percent from the field, including 6-of-14 (.429) from three- point range. The Magic drained 12-of-15 (.800) from the free throw line, while being outrebounded 46-37.

Orlando forward Grant Hill was placed on the injured list with a bruised left shin and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Guard Mark Jones replaced Hill on Orlando's roster.

Orlando, which is closing out a three-game homestand this evening, is 23-15 in its friendly confines this season. The Magic has lost seven of nine and nine of its last 13 home games.

Cleveland currently sits eighth in the East, tied with Philadelphia for the seventh spot. The Cavs and 76ers are 1 1/2 games ahead of the playoff hopeful New Jersey Nets. If the season ended today, the Cavs would get the eighth seed because they would lose the tiebreaker with Philadelphia.

The Cavs put an end to a three-game skid on Saturday, posting a 98-81 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Gund Arena. LeBron James posted his third career triple- double with 40 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to anchor the Cavs to the win.

Drew Gooden added 24 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers, and Jeff McInnis scored 22.

Cleveland was once again without center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who is struggling with a dislocated right ring finger. Ilgauskas is out indefinitely with the injury.

The Cavs, who have four of their final six contests on the road, are 11-26 in foreign buildings this season. Cleveland has lost three straight and 14 of its last 15 road games.

Cleveland has won the last two meetings between these teams. Orlando has won seven of 11 and nine of the last 14 meetings overall. Cleveland has lost eight of its last nine at Orlando.

04/11 10:19:16 ET


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