The Battle of I4 between the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors begins today as the Magic travel to Tampa, temporary home of the Raptors.
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR THE BATTLE OF I4
The Raptors sit 12th in the Eastern Conference having lost on Friday night 126-124 at home to the Sacramento Kings. Five players reached double figure scoring but the team were carried by the combined 58 points from Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. Kyle Lowry also weighed in with 17 points and 6 assists.
Orlando again disappointed in their last game, losing 116-90 to the LA Clippers. That loss saw Orlando drop back further to 10th in the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors have won 5 of 10 games on their home court this season. Orlando have won 4 of 10 on the road. Season records see Orlando at 8-12, whilst Toronto are 7-12. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Raptors have a 5-5 record, whilst Orlando are worryingly sat at 2-8. Orlando have lost their last two games, Toronto their last 3.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE TORONTO RAPTORS
A Raptors team is never an easy task for the Magic to face. The Raptors come into the game as the NBA’s 16th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 111.1 points per game. Toronto are ranked defensively at 14th, conceding an average of 110.7 points per game.
Offensively they do play at a fast pace, ranking 10th. They shoot almost 44% from the field and nearly 38% with the 3 ball. Defensively they rate highly in blocks and steals per game. Toronto turn the ball over at a rate of almost 15 per game and commit on average more than 22 fouls per game.
THE TORONTO RAPTORS SQUAD
According to ESPN the Raptors have 3 absences for tonight. Norman Powell (14.3 PPG) is day-to-day with a quadricep injury and thought doubtful. OG Anunoby (14.6 PPG) is out with a calf injury. Finally Patrick McCaw (0 PPG) is out with a knee injury and will not be available to make his season debut.
Last game Coach Nick Nurse started Pascal Siakam (18.9 PPG), Kyle Lowry (17.9 PPG), Fred Van Vleet (19.3 PPG), Aron Baynes (5.2 PPG) and Terence Davis (7.6 PPG).
From the bench came Yuta Watanabe (3.3 PPG), Stanley Johnson (3.2 PPG), DeAndre’ Bembry (1.7 PPG), Chris Boucher (13.5 PPG), Matt Thomas (3.9 PPG) and Paul Watson (1.4 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: TORONTO RAPTORS
This will be the first meeting this season.
Our recent record is poor against the Toronto Raptors. We played the Raptors 3 times in the opening weeks of last season, losing all 3 games. The two road games were losses by 95-104 and 97-113. In the Amway Orlando fell again 90-83. The teams met for the final time last season in the NBA Bubble on August 5th, the Raptors again winning 109-99. That sealed a season 4-0 sweep for Toronto.
The 2018-19 season saw the regular season series was split 2 & 2 & but as we know in the playoffs we lost 1-4.
Including both regular season and playoff meetings the Raptors have won the last 8 meetings between us.
The all time head-to-head record in the 89 regular season games played sees the Magic trailing by 39-50. In the playoffs the record for games is even at 5 and 5, being tied 1-1 for series victories.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT
There appears to be no change to the injury report as I write. The squad of 17 is now standing at 11 fit players and one possibly absent. According to ESPN:
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is no longer on the injury report. His availability is in question being on a two-way deal with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G League season begins on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
Chum Okeke (3 PPG) is still absent from the rotations with a bone bruise in his left knee. However he is now involved in practice. His absence was estimated by the team on December 31st as being 3-4 weeks.
Michael Carter-Williams (5.1 PPG) is out for both Raptors games with a sore foot having suffered a setback that saw him unable to practice.
Al-Farouq Aminu is still out after recovering from knee surgery. He has been involved in practices.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP FOR THE BATTLE OF I4
Coach Clifford is likely to remain with the starting unit seen recently.
Expect Cole Anthony (10.6 PPG), Evan Fournier (17.9 PPG), Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG), James Ennis III (4.9 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (15.2 PPG), Khem Birch (7.1 PPG), Gary Clark (3.7 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (9.2 PPG), Jordan Bone (4.2 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4.7 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 10th
SEASON RECORD – 8-12
HOME RECORD – 4-6
ROAD RECORD – 4-6
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 3-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 7-1
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 5-1
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.4)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 19TH OF 30 (111.5)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 16TH OF 30 (110.9)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-8
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 7-4
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 5-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 3-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 6-2
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 8-6
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 1-6
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Check out our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts.
In the latest episode we are joined by special guest Perry Riggs (Audio Only), Orlando Magic Team/Floor Assistant and Magic fan to review last weeks games against the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and LA Clippers. We preview the week’s fixtures with the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. Perry also shares his experiences about working for the Orlando Magic, rebounding for players pregame, setting up the arena and being their to help Magic players during a game.
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KEYS TO THE BATTLE OF I4
The Battle of I4 will be no easy task for either team. This Toronto squad with it’s absences is struggling. They do not have the depth of previous recent seasons. That being said they are still underperforming on what was expected from them. Do not be surprised to see them click into form.
Orlando and Toronto are both struggling on offence. This could well be an ugly game to watch from a shooting perspective.
Too few players made any impact on scoring against both Sacramento and the Clippers. Equally against both criticism can be levelled at managing so few points from opposition turnovers.
As written in the last preview Orlando can not continue to foul or turnover at the rate they have done recently. This failing has seen too many points conceded.
In Siakam, Lowry and VanVleet Toronto have quality that can put the team on their shoulders during struggles. Orlando will need to focus on their threat. We as Magic fans have too often witnessed what they can provide to Toronto.
Orlando need to get a win. The Magic left the court after the Clippers defeat looking downcast and beaten. Confidence is shaken and it will fall to Coach Clifford to get them ready to get the ailing season back on track. Any lack of focus will see Toronto take advantage to leapfrog us in the standings.
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!