Where to watch: TSN2 at 7pm
Rejoice, the curse of the Charlotte Hornets has been lifted!
Riding a mini two-game losing streak, the Toronto Raptors entered the proverbial Hornet's nest on Wednesday night, and managed to escape without getting stung. Tyler Hansbrough's energy carried his team to its first victory against Charlotte in seven tries. With Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson out of the lineup, DeMar DeRozan led the way offensively with 18 points.
Tonight, the Raptors go from an opponent that has given them trouble over the past couple season to one they have completely owned in the Orlando Magic. Toronto has won its last 10 games against Orlando, and will look to cap off the season sweep on the road this evening.
The Magic were one of the teams Dwane Casey's group used to run out to its scorching-hot start, defeating them three times in the first month and a half of the season, most recently a 13-point win on Dec. 15. Orlando's season has been a train wreck, but there are certainly some positives seen in this young group.
Centre Nikola Vucevic has taken another step forward in his fourth NBA season, providing his team with a bonafide threat in the post. The 24-year-old is averaging a monstrous 19.6 points while pulling down 11.1 rebounds per night. It should be fun to watch him and Jonas Valanciunas go at it in the paint. With the emergence of Elfrid Payton, Orlando's backcourt projects well for future success. Suiting up alongside sophomore Victor Oladipo, Payton has morphed himself into a legitimate triple-double threat on a nightly basis.
As for injury news, Lowry has stated that he feels good enough to play, but it is still unknown whether or not he will return tonight. Johnson is most likely out as well as he recovers from an ankle sprain. Even if both are unable to go, Toronto should be primed for its 47th win of the year.
Hopefully you all have your playoff tickets purchased and are ready for one final post-season push.
Now, let's get to the comments.