The Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors are in nominally similar situations. Both have been without a pair of their top players, as the Raptors are without Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, while the Magic have lost Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon for a stretch. Both are anticipating that those top guns with be returning in short order, as the Raptors are apparently banking on Lowry and Ibaka being back by December 1st, while Gordon will play for the Magic tonight and Vucevic is ahead of schedule and will be re-evaluated in a week.
No Ibaka tonight. Nurse says he hopes to have Serge and Lowry by Dec 1— Eric Smith (@Eric__Smith) November 29, 2019
Aaron Gordon will play for the Magic tonight.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) November 29, 2019
Of course, despite those similarities, these are two very different teams in very different circumstances, and they’re impacted by their respective injuries in very different ways. For the Raptors the injuries ended up being an opportunity in disguise, opening up playing time and revealing depth that will help them as the year wears on, while costing them perhaps only a few wins. Meanwhile, the Magic were among the league’s worst offenses even prior to their pair of injuries, and without their offensive fulcrum in Vucevic they’ll be relying on some rather tenuous options to stop the bottom from falling out.
Still, even without Vucevic, the Magic can offer up a fearsome defense. Jonathan Isaac frequently shut Pascal Siakam down the last time these teams clashed, is that something we’ll see again? With two elite defenses going head to head and some key offensive pieces sidelined this one could get choppy. Let’s watch.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet and Sportsnet One, 7:00 PM
Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Orlando — Markelle Fultz, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Khem Birch
Toronto — Matt Thomas (finger) - out, Stanley Johnson (groin) - out, Serge Ibaka (ankle) - doubtful, Kyle Lowry (thumb) - out, Patrick McCaw (knee) - out, Dewan Hernandez (thumb) - out
Orlando — Nikola Vucevic (ankle) - out, Michael Carter-Williams (hip) - out