Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 4/1/12
When the 3-pointers are falling, the Orlando Magic are hard to beat. But when they aren't - and when Orlando doesn't take care of the basketball - coach Stan Van Gundy doesn't like his team's chances at all. The Denver Nuggets struggled in both areas in their last game yet still found a way to win. The Magic try to avoid a third straight loss Sunday against the visiting Nuggets, who are looking for a rare win in Orlando and their first back-to-back victories in nearly a month. Orlando (32-20), third in the Eastern Conference, is unlikely to make up a six-game deficit to Miami in the Southeast Division race, but there is still plenty to play for in the final month with home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs on the line. While the Magic have an advantage in the paint almost every night with Dwight Howard, the team relies heavily on its outside shooting. Led by Ryan Anderson, the league leader in 3-point attempts (353) and makes (147), Orlando leads the NBA in both categories by a wide margin. There are no complaints when those shots are falling - the Magic are 22-2 when they make at least 39.3 percent - but the results are far different when they aren't. Orlando missed 21 of 32 from long range and let a 15-point third-quarter lead slip away Friday in a 100-98 loss to Dallas. "Watching Orlando all year long we know that they're a team that has relinquished a lot of leads ... just the way they play," Mavs guard Jason Terry said. "They're either going inside or they're shooting 3s. You live by the 3 or you die by it." The Magic have overcome some high turnover totals - winning five times with at least 20 - but they've lost just twice in 12 games when committing fewer than 13. Half of Orlando's 16 turnovers on Friday came in the final 14 minutes. "We keep doing it, doing it, doing it and doing it. It's an area where we're not getting better in," Van Gundy told the Magic's official website. " ... The turnovers, until we get that under control, we have no chance to beat good teams on a consistent basis - none." The Magic haven't lost three in a row since a season-worst four-game skid from Jan. 26-30. Orlando, though, is 20-3 at home versus Denver following an 85-82 victory on March 18, 2011, when Jameer Nelson hit a 3-pointer over Ty Lawson as time expired. The Nuggets (28-24) will try to improve that mark in central Florida as they continue their season-high seven-game trip. Denver improved to 2-3 on that stretch following Friday's 99-88 victory over league-worst Charlotte. The Nuggets missed 15 of 17 from beyond the arc and had 25 turnovers leading to 28 points, but they held the Bobcats to 36.7 percent shooting. "It wasn't pretty, but it sure was special," said coach George Karl, whose team is 14-2 against the East this season. The Nuggets, though, have lost their last six following a victory. They last won two in a row during a four-game run Feb. 29-March 5. Wilson Chandler, who led Denver with 20 points in last season's loss at Orlando, is day-to-day after suffering a strained groin Friday. Chandler has averaged 10.7 points on 40.3 percent shooting in seven games since returning from China. The Magic's last home loss in this series was 82-73 on Feb. 11, 2009. Orlando had won the previous 15 times the Nuggets were in town.
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