Gameday: Magic vs Raptors, March 4

Orlando is the ultimate "don't play with your food" game. The "is this a serious team" challenge.

The Dwane Casey hex loss was understandable and predictable. Losing to a team with the worst record in the NBA would not be.

The Magic (15-48, 15th in East) and Raptors (34-28, 7th in East) finish off Toronto’s third set of back to back games following the all-star break. This is a make-up contest from December 20th, hence the cramped scheduling. Nobody cares about that though.

Orlando is the ultimate “don’t play with your food” game. The “is this a serious team” challenge.

Looming ahead is a crucial six game road trip, starting with a showdown in Cleveland so the Raptors simply cannot afford to lay an egg if they have real aspirations to escape the play-in scenario. Pascal Siakam re-found his tough against Detroit, shooting 10-15 for 28 points. Next up on the wish list is Gary Trent Jr, who went 4-23 and is connecting at a 29.2% clip over his last five games. Remember it was Gary who saved Toronto in the first game between these teams on October 29th.

Khem Birch continues to be the other question mark as a starter, but maybe it should just be assumed at this point that Nick Nurse likes the punch that Precious Achiuwa brings off an extremely poor bench. Achiuwa gets the majority of the centre minutes anyway. Thaddeus Young was missed against Detroit, we’ll see if he needs more than a day to deal with his illness.

Player to Watch

Eighth overall pick Franz Wagner is the only rookie to play every game this season and ranks second in scoring (15.7 ppg on 46/36/85 splits). He’s a rookie of the year candidate, and the best one on his team right now. However Jalen Suggs is still going to be the focus. Fans are back to chant “Scottie’s better” again! Suggs is experiencing a so-so rookie campaign, but he has put up double digit points in five of his last six games. Suggs is also good for a highlight or two.

Cool sidenote: Markelle Fultz has looked pretty good in two games (10.5 ppg, 4 apg) after missing a year with a torn ACL. The 2017 number one overall pick is still only 23 years old.

Meanwhile Scottie Barnes just racked up his third straight double double (21 pts, 10 reb). At a time where it’s common for some rookies to hit the wall, Barnes has only flourished when asked to do more. He’s been the best Raptor in their last two wins and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Scottie take center stage in the fourth vs fifth pick matchup again. One of this best highlights of season came against Orlando.

Personal story time: I went to this game live but missed this damn dunk waiting for a late friend. Heard the roar just before I got to my seat, and clearly rage still lingers. The end.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7:30pm EST | TV: TSN 4 | Radio: Sportsnet 590

Toronto Raptors Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

vs Pistons L 108-106
vs Nets W 109-108
@ Nets W 133-97
@ Hawks L 127-100
@ Hornets L 125-93

Probable Lineup

PF: P. Siakam, C. Boucher
SF: S. Barnes, Y. Watanabe, J. Champagnie
C: K. Birch, P. Achiuwa
PG: M. Flynn, D. Banton
SG: G. Trent Jr., S. Mykhailiuk, I. Bonga


David Johnson, PGDay-To-Day
Thaddeus Young, PFDay-To-Day
D.J. Wilson, FDay-To-Day
Fred VanVleet, SGOut moreVanVleet (knee) will miss a third straight game Thursday against Detroit, Josh Lewenberg of TSN reports.
OG Anunoby, SFOut moreAnunoby (finger) is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

Orlando Magic Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

vs Pacers L 122-114
vs Pacers W 119-103
vs Rockets W 119-111
vs Hawks L 130-109
@ Nuggets L 121-111

Probable Lineup

PF: W. Carter Jr., C. Okeke
SF: F. Wagner, A. Schofield, I. Brazdeikis
C: M. Bamba, R. Lopez
PG: C. Anthony, M. Fultz, R.J. Hampton
SG: J. Suggs, T. Ross, G. Harris


Moritz Wagner, COut moreWagner (ribs) is out Friday against the Raptors.
Jonathan Isaac, PFOut moreGeneral manager John Hammond made no assurances Tuesday that Isaac (knee) would play this season, Michael Tozzi of 96.9 The Game Orlando reports. “No expectation either way,” Hammond said, regarding if or when Isaac will play. “We’re trying to keep Jonathan ready physically, keeping Jonathan ready mentally. He’s committed to the medical staff and they’re committed to him.”
Bol Bol, COut moreBol (foot) was traded to the Magic on Thursday, along with P.J. Dozier (knee), cash and a future second-round pick, in exchange for a future second-round pick, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

Betting Lines

Money Line

My over/under prediction (11-11 this season): I don’t have a feel for this one because of Fred/Thad’s status. Then again, being .500 isn’t much of a “feel” anyway. Under?

Magic 100, Raptors 112

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