The Toronto Raptors are red hot. After winning a game that many, including I, thought they were going to lose, the Dinos managed to execute down the stretch late in the 4th, play solid defense, and hold off a team that many have as favourites to win the Western Conference.
Taking a day off after dethroning the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Raptors look to extend their winning streak Friday night. The last time the Raptors and Magic faced each other was on April 10th 2015. With 9.9 seconds remaining, Lou Williams shot a a 3 point to secure the 101-99 win over Orlando.
Tonight's game will be the first of three games against the Magic. Here are three keys for the Raps going into this game:
Things to Look For:
Evan "Never Google" Fournier
Evan Fournier has been on an absolute rampage early on this season. After posting a career high 30 points in a 103-94 win against the New Orleans Pelicans, Fournier had 29 against the Houston Rockets and held streaky gunslinger James Harden to 6-of-22 shooting in a 119-114 overtime loss at Houston. Previously, he averaged a career-high 12.0 points last season however now, he's averaging a team high 20.6 per game. In his past five games against the Raps, Fournier has averaged 17.8 points.
The Kyle Lowry/Cory Joseph Combo
While Lowry will get a ton of minutes at point, expect him to be paired up with Cory Joseph in the backcourt. During the game against the Thunder, Joseph played a big role in holding Russell Westbrook to 1-of-8 shooting from the field in the fourth quarter.
There is No Man in the Middle
Orlando big man, Nikola Vucevic will miss tonight's game as he'll be sitting out with a bruised right knee. The Magic will try to avoid losing their first three games at home since 2005-06. Prior to injury, Vucevic has been averaging 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds. Expect Dewayne Dedmon to start in his place.
What does all this info mean? It means Jonas Valanciunas, who's averaging 15.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and shooting 60 percent from the field, is going against Dewayne Dedmon.
And a heads up: The next time the Magic and Raptors face each other will be in London, England at The O2. The game will be played on Jan. 14th 2016 and will mark the sixth regular season game in London. The 2011 Raptors/New Jersey Nets game was the first to be played in London.
Tip off: 7:00 P.M. EST
Where to Watch: Sportsnet One