Delayed through player absence since December, tonight finally sees Orlando face the Raptors in Toronto as the star rookies battle it out. Welcome to what would have been Game Day 32 for Orlando!
Orlando are looking for a bounce back win in this clash to build on a resurgence of good play since All-Star weekend. The Magic are on the first night of a back-to-back, whilst for Toronto it is the second night.
The tip time is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 12:30am here in the UK (7:30pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando). To watch the game live or on demand in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
Season Record And Last Time Out
The Orlando Magic
Last time out on Wednesday night Orlando managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. A fourth quarter collapse saw the Magic throw away an 18 point lead against the Indiana Pacers, eventually going down 122-114.
Franz Wagner led the team with an immaculate offensive display, get 28 points for his 53rd double figure scoring game in 63 played. It tied his second highest scoring performance. Mo Bamba again played with energy and determination. He recorded a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. Wendell Carter Jr also secured a double-double, his 28th of the season (13 points and 18 rebounds). Markelle Fultz continued his return with a solid 11 points from the bench. He played just 15 minutes but again looked strong and ready for the competition. Jalen Suggs again scored 14 points and Cole Anthony 11.
After Wednesday’s loss Orlando has a record of 34 wins and 28 losses, which still sees us last in the Eastern Conference and with the worst record in the NBA. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 3. The home record stands at 7 wins of 29 games played. On the road it is 8 wins in 34 played for the Magic. Points per game sees the Magic are scoring 104 whilst conceding 112.
The Toronto Raptors
As said before; Toronto are on the second night of a home-stand back-to-back. Last night they faced the Detroit Pistons and lost 108-106. Pascal Siakam led the team in scoring with 28 points. Rookie Scottie Barnes put up a strong double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds. Three other players recorded double digit scoring being Gary Trent Jr (14 points), Malachi Flynn (11 points) and from the bench Precious Achiuwa (18 points).
Toronto now hold a record of 21 wins and 42 losses, seeing the Raptors 7th in the Eastern Conference. They are two games back of Cleveland who hold the last automatic playoff spot in 6th place. Of the last 10 games played Toronto have won 5. The home record stands at 17 wins of 31 games played. In points per game the Raptors score 108.6 whilst conceding 107.4, rating 12th on offence and 14th defensively.
Head-To-Head: The Toronto Raptors
In the 93 regular season games played between the two teams history sees the Magic trailing by 39-54.
This will be the second of three meetings this season between the teams. The first was won by Toronto in a heartbreaker by 109-110. The Raptors got strong performances from Scottie Barnes (21 points), Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr (with 19 points each). For Orlando Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs led the scoring, whilst Wendell Carter Jr and Mo Bamba both registered double-doubles.
Our recent record is very poor against the Toronto Raptors. Include both regular season and playoff meetings the Raptors have won the last 12 meetings. The last time Orlando tasted victory over Toronto was in the 2019 playoffs from that DJ Augustin 3-point dagger in the Magic’s 104–101 game one victory.
With Toronto winning the last 9 regular season games you have to go back to the 2018-19 season for the last Magic regular season win, on February 24th 2019. That series was split 2-2.
In the playoffs the record for games is even at 5 and 5, being tied 1-1 for series victories. Orlando won the 2008 Eastern Conference First Round 4-1. Toronto took the corresponding round in 2019, also by 4-1.
Our Opponents – The Toronto Raptors
Head coach Nick Nurse has his team playing competitive basketball. In Fred VanVleet the Raptors had a ready made replacement for Kyle Lowry. Number 4 pick; Scottie Barnes has started his NBA career superbly, his fit to the team justifying the choice to select him ahead of Jalen Suggs.
Injuries are affecting the Raptors lineup. It is possible that Coach Nurse may be able to use a more regular starting lineup than in their previous game. This largely depends upon the availablilty of Fred VanVleet, who sat last night with a knee injury. He remains day-to-day and questionable as does David Johnson. Thaddeus Young is also questionable with a non-Covid illness. OG Anunoby and DJ Wilson are both out.
Last Starting Unit: Malachi Flynn (PG), Gary Trent Jr (SG), Pascal Siakam (PF), Scottie Barnes (SF), Khem Birch (C)
Bench Unit: Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher, Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, Yuta Watanabe (DNP), Isaac Bongo (DNP), Justin Champagne (DNP)
The Orlando Magic Lineup And Injury Report
Coach Jamahl Mosely will be shuffling the pack tonight potentially. Wendell Carter Jr has a non-Covid illness and is questionable. Markelle Fultz is being held out for management of his knee injury. Moe Wagner (left rib contusion), Jonathan Isaac (rehabilitation of surgically repaired left knee) and Bol Bol (out for the season after surgery to a foot injury) are all again absent.
Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Jalen Suggs (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, Chuma Okeke, Terrence Ross, Admiral Schofield, Ignas Brazdeikis (DNP), Robin Lopez (DNP)
Final Thoughts As Orlando Face The Raptors In Toronto
Again many will see this game as a direct reflection of whether Jalen Suggs or Scottie Barnes is better. Frankly, this is utter nonsense. Both players are talented and fit to the needs of their teams. Hopefully we see more classy behaviour from the Raptors fans than in the previous meeting, but don’t hold your breath on that one!
Toronto will shoot from anywhere and everywhere. They are happy to fire the three, drive to the rim or take a mid-range shot. What often follows is a miss as the Raptors have some of the worst shooting percentages in the league. They are second in the league for offensive rebounds.
Defensively the Raptors will push the realms of legality to the very extreme. The team will have active hands, that results in steals. Oh and don’t forget they (particularly Nick Nurse) will argue every call.
Let’s Go Magic!