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Raptors vs. Magic: The Bizness of Defensive Basketball

The Raptors meet a familiar face tonight in Orlando, and will hope to channel some of his defensive spirit.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

At 18-8, there's no reason to panic for the Toronto Raptors. The team is reeling a bit, though, after a historic offense got dragged down by a poor defensive outing on Friday against Atlanta. The loss snapped a four-game win streak, and now all eyes turn to the Toronto "D" for tonight's game against Orlando.

Fittingly, the Raptors' defensive hero of yesteryear Bismack Biyombo will be on the floor as Toronto tries to sort things out on that end. A year after finding a niche as Toronto's backup energy big -- enjoying a highly public, exciting playoff run -- Biyombo is now pegged awkwardly into Orlando's slushy street of a roster.

Since late November, Biyombo has been a part of Orlando's super-sized starting lineup -- which includes Serge Ibaka, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier all playing out of their natural positions. For this and other reasons, the Magic stink at scoring. Their offense is ranked 27th in the league, while the Raptors come in at number one (a little surprising considering last night's Blazers bloodbath at the hands of Golden State). Their best unit will take a small hit tonight, however, as Cory Joseph sits with flu-like symptoms.

Still, the difference in scoring alone, as Matt Teague pointed out in this morning's preview, should be reason enough for a Raptors win. The pressure to improve on defence, though, is the trend everyone will be watching. They have the opportunity to show off a bit against an awkward Orlando team, and hopefully they do so.

Now let's get to those comments.