Raptors 93, Magic 90
After losing one rookie to a first-quarter injury, the Toronto Raptors kept their winning streak alive when another rookie came up big in the fourth quarter.
Terrence Ross scored seven of his 13 points in the final quarter, four of them on a pair of high-flying dunks, and the Raptors won their fifth straight game Friday night, beating the Orlando Magic 93-90.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey praised Ross for his efforts at both ends of the court.
''He's playing well,'' Casey said. ''He's earning every second he's on the floor, mainly on the defensive end. He got some key rebounds, some tough rebounds in traffic.
''We're not developing Terrence Ross, he's earning every minute of it,'' Casey went on. ''If he wasn't, he wouldn't be out there.''
Orlando's J.J. Redick, who missed a potential tying 3-pointer in the final seconds, was also impressed with Ross.
''He shot the ball well, he made a couple of athletic plays that were just next-level,'' Redick said. ''Defensively, he was great. With his length and athleticism, he should be a good defender.''
Toronto lost rookie center Jonas Valanciunas to a broken right ring finger at 7:31 of the first. Valanciunas grabbed his hand after battling for a loose ball under the Magic basket. He was slow to get back on defense, and left the court wincing in pain when he was replaced by Amir Johnson. Valanciunas was taken for X-rays, which revealed the fracture.
''Very unfortunate,'' Casey said. ''He's growing every time he walks on the floor.''
Arron Afflalo scored 26 points and Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who lost for the first time in five games. Gustavo Ayon had 12 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double of the season while E'Twaun Moore added 12.
A soaring putback dunk by Ross and a three-point play by DeRozan put Toronto up 78-68 with 9:35 to go. Orlando used a 6-0 run to cut it to 82-76 before Ross struck again, hitting a long 3, then stealing the ball from Jameer Nelson at midcourt and racing in for a windmill jam that put the Raptors up 87-76 with 5:55 remaining.
''That's one of the most vicious dunks I've seen from Terrence Ross,'' Casey said.
The Raptors led 91-80 after a pair of free throws by DeRozan with 4:13 left before going cold. Ayon had four points in a 10-0 Magic run capped by Nelson's 3 with 55 seconds left, cutting it to 91-90.
DeRozan missed a layup but Johnson was fouled after grabbing the rebound and made both free throws, giving Toronto a 93-90 lead with 42 seconds left.
Ross made another big play on the next possession by stealing the ball from Ayon after DeRozan had knocked it away. But Toronto couldn't score at the other end, giving Orlando 10 seconds to try for the tying basket.
But Redick missed a 3 and Orlando couldn't get another shot off before the buzzer, giving Toronto its first five-game winning streak since Jan. 22-31, 2010.
''It felt good when it left my hand,'' Redick said of his late miss. ''I had a direct line, I was square to the basket. I just back-rimmed it.''
Casey said it was too soon to put a timetable on Valanciunas' return. Valanciunas is expected to see a hand specialist over the weekend, but no appointment had been scheduled following the game.
Drafted fifth overall in 2011, Valanciunas played in Lithuania last season before joining the Raptors. He came in averaging 8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds and had started all 28 games to date.
The Magic had 18 turnovers, leading to 17 Toronto points.
''We were trying to be aggressive and did some different things offensively,'' Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. ''They did a good job of trapping our pick-and-roll at times.''
Orlando rookie Andrew Nicholson made his first career start in place of co-leading scorer Glen Davis, who'll be sidelined four to six weeks after injuring his left shoulder in Wednesday's victory over Washington.
Redick said Davis' absence was felt most in the final quarter, because it forced the Magic to alter their regular finishing lineup.
''What hurt was not being able to go to the lineup that we're comfortable playing with,'' Redick said.
Nicholson's opening basket at 9:37 of the first was Orlando's only lead of the game.
Toronto led 20-15 after one, the fewest points it has allowed in the first quarter this season.
Ross scored six points in the second but Afflalo had seven for the Magic, who cut it to 42-39 at the half.
DeRozan scored six points in the third, including a jumper during Toronto's 7-0 run over the final 1:23 that gave the Raptors a 71-62 lead heading into the fourth.
NOTES: Toronto held its opponent below 100 points for a season-high seventh straight game. ... Toronto's next game is Dec. 26 at San Antonio. ... Afflalo went 9 for 9 from the free throw line. ... Amir Johnson played for the first time since shaving the Raptors logo into the hair on the back of his head.