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.
Gary Trent Jr. with a huge defensive play at the end of the game 💪
The Raptors survive an 11-0 Magic run and avoid the upset. pic.twitter.com/ZrdRMdYaLO
— NBABet (@nbabet) October 30, 2021
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.
JALEN SUGGS PUT DEROZAN ON A POSTER 🤯 pic.twitter.com/C4OvRU2wGi
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 24, 2022
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.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 29, 2021
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.
Tip-Off: 7:30pm EST | TV: TSN 4 | Radio: Sportsnet 590
Toronto Raptors Results, Lineups & Injuries
Orlando Magic Results, Lineups & Injuries
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