Gameday: Magic vs Raptors, March 15

Home and home series against one of the better surprise stories in the league.

A little late in the day for a preview, sorry.

The Raptors and Magic will play their final two matchups over the next three days. Orlando won the lone meeting in November 126-107, a game where Jalen Suggs was especially fired up and rubbed it in literally every chance he got. It’s been a whole three years now since the Raptors rightfully passed on him for Scottie Barnes in the draft, but whatever works as motivation I guess.

Magic scope: 38-28, 5th in East | Offensive Rating: 23rd (112.8) | Defensive Rating: 4th (111.3)

Orlando has been making a climb over the last couple years and were expected to be in play-in contention this season but jumping into a guaranteed playoff spot is a little ahead of schedule. Jamahl Mosley has done a great job, especially installing a top five defence. As a result, he was given a four year extension that extends to 2028.

The Magic have won six of their last eight games and have a chance to jump the ailing Knicks for fourth (and homecourt advantage) if they finish the season strong. Paolo Banchero only needed two seasons to become an All-Star, coming off his Rookie of the Year award last year. Franz Wagner is also one of the standouts from the 2021 class, averaging 20 points per game.

Raptors scope: 23-43, 12th in East | Offensive Rating: 21st (113.3) | Defensive Rating: 24th (117.4)

Toronto’s current five game losing streak ties a season worst, after coming off a 0-4 road trip. None of those games were expected wins anyway given the current roster.

Devastating news broke yesterday, as RJ Barrett’s younger brother Nathan passed away.

According to Michael Grange, Nathan had been ill for quite some time with an undisclosed illness that was kept private. Thoughts with the Barrett family at this time, and a testament to RJ that he was able to play so well since being with the Raptors despite what was going on in his personal life.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7:30 pm EDT | TV: TSN 4, 5 | Radio: TSN Radio 1050

Magic Lineup

A clean report at this point of the season is a blessing.

PG: Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz

SG: Gary Harris, Cole Anthony, Anthony Black, Caleb Houstan

SF: Franz Wagner, Joe Ingles, Admiran Schofield

PF: Paolo Banchero, Jonathan Isaac, Chuma Okeke

C: Wendell Carter Jr, Mo Wagner, Goga Bitadze

Raptors Lineup

RJ Barrett (personal) is out. DJ Carton (ankle), Chris Boucher (knee), Scottie Barnes (hand) and Jakob Poeltl (hand) also remain out. Gary Trent Jr. (groin) is questionable.

PG: Immanuel Quickley, Javon Freeman-Liberty

SG: Gary Trent Jr, Gradey Dick

SF: Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, Garrett Temple

PF: Ochai Agbaji, Jalen McDaniels

C: Kelly Olynyk, Jontay Porter

The Line

Another game, another underdog line for obvious reasons. The Magic are favoured by 8.5 points. Inquiring minds wonder: will the Raptors be a favourite again this season?