NBA

Magic-Raptors Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy couldn't have been any more displeased with his team following a loss to the NBA leaders last week.

Van Gundy is now feeling much better about his team's prospects.

The Magic go for a third straight victory Monday night when the Toronto Raptors open a five-game stretch at Air Canada Centre following a tough last-second defeat.

With a chance to win the season series and make a statement against the league-best Chicago Bulls before a possible Eastern Conference playoff pairing, Orlando (31-18) lost for the third time in four games last Monday, 85-59. It matched the third-lowest scoring effort in Magic history.

"I mean, it's everything,'' Van Gundy said when asked what issue his team needs to fix.

The Magic have turned things around nicely, winning two straight to cap a three-game homestand.

While turnovers remain a concern - the club is averaging 19.2 in the last five games - Orlando has hit 23 of 58 from 3-point range over the last two contests while holding opponents to an average of 86.5 points.

"We've got to play a little bit better when we have a lead but our effort the last two games and our focus on the defensive end of the floor has been very, very good," Van Gundy said after Friday's 93-80 victory over Cleveland.

Dwight Howard has been outstanding in his career at Toronto. He's averaged 30.4 points with 11.7 rebounds in his last seven visits after scoring 36 points with 13 boards in a 92-88 victory March 5.

Howard's average of 23.9 points in Toronto is his best on the road against any team.

The Raptors (16-33) could also have their hands full with Ryan Anderson, who is averaging 21.5 points - second to Howard's 27.5 - and 9.0 rebounds in two victories in this series in 2011-12.

Anderson, the league leader in 3-pointers made (135) and attempted (331), has been one of the keys to the Magic's last two wins, scoring 46 points on 10-of-23 shooting from long distance.

"I think (the playoffs are) definitely on our minds,'' he said Friday. "When we huddle it up after the game that's one thing we focus on, just getting better because it's crunch time.''

At 12th in the East and with four losses in five games, the Raptors aren't likely headed to the playoffs. But they put quite a scare into the Bulls on the road Saturday before falling 102-101 in overtime.

James Johnson, who finished with 20 points and eight boards, recorded his fourth block in the final seconds, but Bulls forward Luol Deng's putback before the buzzer was the difference.

"That's the microcosm of the season,'' Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

It's uncertain if DeMar DeRozan will return to the lineup after having his streak of 130 consecutive games played snapped on Saturday due to a left ankle injury. Jerryd Bayless (left hip pointer) is also questionable after missing the last two contests.

DeRozan has averaged 20.0 points versus Orlando this season after finishing with a team-best 23 earlier this month. Bayless had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes off the bench.

Andrea Bargnani missed that game with a calf injury, but he scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds - both team highs - in a 102-96 loss in Orlando on Jan. 1.

The Raptors, who beat New York on Friday at the Air Canada Centre, haven't won two home games in a row since Dec. 1 and 3, 2010.

The Magic, winners of four of five in Toronto, are trying to prevent their first three-game road losing streak since March 28-April 3.

Tagged: Bulls, Magic, Raptors, Dwight Howard

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

LeBron's going home to Cleveland Posted: Jul 11, 2014
Miami Heat beat writer Ira Winderman breaks down LeBron's decision to return hom...

Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Jenny Taft reports on LeBron returning to Cleveland. Check out th...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..