The Raptors are 0-3 on the second leg of back to backs but snapping both that and their current two game win streak seem likely against the Magic. Orlando holds the NBA’s worst record and were missing some rotation players against the Cavs yesterday. Both teams are coming off losses on Friday and will see each other three times in the next eight days.
Magic scope (5-18 | Offensive rating: 27th | Defensive rating: 27th)
Orlando comes into this game on a seven game losing streak. The main draw for Raptors-Magic games last season was watching Jalen Suggs and Scottie Barnes face off, the fifth and fourth picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. There was even a “Scottie’s better” chant in Toronto. It’s unknown if that matchup will happen tonight though, as both players are dealing with injuries. There are two bright spots in yet another rough Magic campaign. Paolo Banchero (22.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.6 apg) is the real deal, showing why he was bumped up to the number one pick on draft night and is the early frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. Franz Wagner made the All-Rookie first team last season and is averaging nearly 20 points a game.
Some Canadian content: Second round rookie Caleb Houstan is playing his first game against the Raptors. The Mississauga Ontario native has played in 18 games for Orlando this season, averaging four points a game.
Raptors scope (11-11 | Offensive rating: 16th | Defensive rating: 8th)
FIX THE STARTS! The Raptors have given up 40-plus points in each of the last two games in New Orleans and Brooklyn. In both games, Toronto trailed by over 30 and then managed to make the score respectable but were never a real threat. That fourth quarter energy needs to be prevalent earlier on. Gary Trent Jr. has looked solid coming off the bench (21.7 ppg in three games), but maybe his shooting could be used in the starting lineup again? Barnes has limped through most of this season and while putting up a decent line yesterday, he committed seven turnovers. Fred VanVleet was asked about Scottie’s struggles lately.
Gotta give it to Fred for always being self aware. VanVleet has shot under 40 percent from the field in six straight games, dipping his percentage for the season to 36.5. He’s due for one of those games that made him an all-star last season.
Tip-Off: 8pm EST | TV: TSN 1/4/4K | Radio: Sportsnet 590
Jalen Suggs (ankle), Chuma Okeke (knee), Gary Harris (hamstring), Wendell Carter Jr. (plantar fascia) and Mo Bamba (back) all missed yesterday’s game. Jonathan Isaac (Torn ACL) hasn’t played since the bubble. Orlando went big vs Cleveland.
PG: Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton
SG: Franz Wagner, Terrence Ross, Kevon Harris
SF: Paolo Banchero, Caleb Houstan
PF: Mo Wagner, Admiral Schofield
C: Bol Bol
There is currently no new injury report out yet, I will update later. Precious Achiuwa (ankle) is still out for a while. Otto Porter Jr. (toe) didn’t play on Friday. Inquiring minds wonder about Scottie Barnes (knee) who left yesterday’s game but returned. Jeff Dowtin Jr, Justin Champagnie and Ron Harper Jr. were with the Raptors 905 earlier this week.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn
SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr.
SF: O.G. Anunoby
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Juancho Hernangomez, Thaddeus Young
C: Christian Koloko, Khem Birch
The Raptors are favoured by 10.5 points, don’t remember if they have been double digit favourites in any other game this season. The Over/Under is 218.