Which team has handed the Raptors their worst loss of the season? Narrative-wise, it’s hard to discount those handful of defeats to the Bucks, Celtics, and Sixers. And it didn’t feel great to watch the San Antonio Spurs tear apart the Raps back in January. Naturally, some of those close losses — the letdown vs. the Dwane Casey-coached Pistons, the screw-up vs. the Rockets — continue to stick in our collective craw.
But for the most numerically lopsided score in a Raptors’ loss this season, we need not look any further than the Orlando Magic. Yes, it’s true. Back on December 28th, the last two times these teams met, the Raptors somehow lost by a full-on 29 points. The box score tells the unfortunate tale.
That the Raptors also just barely beat the Magic in their first contest, thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper from Danny Green, should be cause for concern too. Yes, Orlando is 27-33 and in ninth place and not exactly a super threat in the Eastern Conference. But on the other hand, they’ve got newly crowned All-Star Nikola Vucevic, former Raptor gunner Terrence Ross, and whatever kind of talent Aaron Gordon currently is. (Also, don’t forget about underrated Raptor Killer D.J. Augustin, lurking in the shadows.) They’ve gone 7-3 over their last ten games and look to have caught a few teams napping as of late.
My point here is that a game against the Magic could be tough for the Raptors, especially as they regain their post-break footing, come off an emotionally draining (win) against DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs, look to integrate all of their new parts — Marc Gasol, Jeremy Lin, and sure Jodie Meeks — and will have to do it all without Kawhi Leonard, who is having his load managed this afternoon. It’ll be something to keep an eye on.
Here’s the full Raps-Magic preview from Zakaria Abdulle this morning. Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet One, 3:30pm EST
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Orlando – D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic
Toronto – Fred VanVleet (thumb – OUT), Kawhi Leonard (load management – OUT)
Orlando – Mohamed Bamba (leg – OUT), Markelle Fultz (shoulder – OUT), Timofey Mozgov (knee – OUT)