After defeating the Milwaukee Bucks for fourth time this season on Saturday, the Orlando Magic will try to make it two straight when they take on the Toronto Raptors Monday night. The Raptors picked up an 83-75 win over the Golden State Warriors Sunday, improving their record to 12-25. The Magic enter with a record of 24-14.
These two teams met in Orlando on New Years Day. The Magic rallied for a 102-96 victory, outscoring the Raptors 32-15 in the fourth quarter.
The Magic rank 13th in offensive rating (104.3), 11th in defensive rating (101.4) and play at the league’s fourth-slowest pace (89.5). The Raptors are 29th in offensive rating (98.7), 16th in defensive rating (103.3) and play at the sixth-slowest pace (89.9).
Tip-off from the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Dick Bavetta, Kane Fitzgerald and Olandis Poole.
The Line: Orlando – 6.0 (185.5)
Amir Johnson Ed Davis*
*Amir Johnson is out with a calf injury.
Forward Andrea Bargnani has missed the last 18 games with a calf injury.
The Raptors are one of the league’s worst offensive teams, posting the second worst offensive rating in the NBA so far this season. Orlando’s defense, which, for the most part has shown improvement, probably won’t be tested much. Orlando’s defense just needs to avoid their let down quarters (re: the fourth quarter of their loss to Oklahoma City Thursday and the second quarter of their win over Milwaukee Saturday).
Bargnani is the only Raptors player averaging more than 15.8 points per game (23.5 ppg), but he’s played in just 13 games and won’t see any action in Monday’s game. DeMar DeRozan puts up 15.8 ppg while Leandro Barbosa (12.2), Linas Kleiza (10.8), Jose Calderon (10.6) and Jerryd Bayless (10.0) also average in double figures.
Both DeRozan and Calderon could provide trouble for Orlando’s back court -DeRozan scored 17 in the first meeting while Calderon had 18 points and 13 assists.
Toronto’s defense has been average, ranking in the middle of the pack, which is a big improvement compared to the last few seasons – Toronto was the worst defensive team in the league last season.
Dwight Howard should be able to exploit Toronto’s defense – they’re not exactly stacked inside. Howard had 19 points and 15 rebounds in the first meeting. Aaron Gray will get the first crack at Howard for Toronto.
Toronto had a lot of trouble defending the three-point shot in Orlando – the Magic knocked down 12 treys. Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick combined to hit eight of those three’s and together, put up 45 points.
The Magic had the day off Sunday while Toronto was in action, so the Magic have no excuses if they start this three-game road trip with a loss.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Chris Duhon, Demar Derozan, Dwight Howard, Ed Davis, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Jose Calderon, Larry Hughes, Orlando Magic, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Toronto Raptors, Von Wafer