Busy day in these parts, as we’ve got a back-to-back, I just finished recording tomorrow’s Rapcast (with Alex Rucker, the Raptors’ Director of Analytics), and I’m doing the play-by-play for an NCAA D-II game tonight and have to start prepping (if you were curious, I do play-by-play for the UBC Thunderbirds men’s and women’s teams for about half of their home games, too).
Anyway, after a tough but impressive overtime loss to the Miami Heat last night, the 15-27 Raptors make the short trek to Orlando to take on the 14-27 Magic. Toronto is 3-0 against Orlando so far this season, but this is a slightly different looking Magic team than we last saw – they have Glen Davis back and have inserted J.J. Reddick into the starting line-up, sliding (I Used To Be Jealous Of) Arron Afflalo to the small forward position.
Let’s have a quick look at the teams and then let the comments dominate.
Tale of the Tape
O-Rating: Toronto 106.5 (11th), Orlando 103.2 (21st)
D-Rating: Orlando 107.2 (24th), Toronto 108.7 (26th)
Pace: Orlando 91.6 (17th), Toronto 89.9 (25th)
Nov. 18, Toronto 97 Orlando 86 – Glen Davis posts a double-double but the Reddick-less Magic can’t get anything going offensively, shooting 40% with just four threes. DeMar DeRozan has 20-and-9, Jose Calderon has 18 assists, and only Andrea Bargnani really struggled (7-of-19).
Dec. 21, Toronto 93 Orlando 90 – Terrence Ross flies, having his monster put-back jam over Reddick and the steal-and-windmill play, scoring 13 points. Six Raptors score in double figures and even though the team shoots just 41%, they hit eight threes and go 19-of-21 at the stripe to squeeze out the win. Orlando shoots 50% but turns the ball over 18 times to lose their advantage. Gustavo Ayon and Nikola Vucevic both go off for double-doubles while Arron Afflalo is left unguarded repeatedly en route to 26 points.
Dec. 29, Toronto 123 Orlando 88 – Six players score in double figure for the Raptor and three more score six or more points. Landry Fields comes back to life, Kyle Lowry gets in on the fun, DeRozan actually plays well and attacks, and Ross scores 16 off the bench. The team shoots 56%, goes 16-of-27 on threes and 16-of-21 at the line and only commits eight turnovers. Andrew Nicholson inexplicably scores 22 points but nobody else shows up for the Magic, including Reddick and Afflalo, who combine to shoot 7-for-26.
Vegas: Orlando -4
Blake: Raptors by 7. I know it might be silly to suggest a full sweep, but I think the Raptors will be jacked up from last night’s performance rather than let down, and it will carry over to tonight. I also don’t see the Raptors as a team susceptible to “Miami Flu,” as they don’t seem like the most outgoing party bunch.
Maybe the Magic have some tricks up their sleeves though. (They’re called illusions, Michael. Tricks are what whores do for money…and candy.)
Again, sorry for the abbreviated pre-game post. Have at it in the comments.