Long-time Raptors fans have this thing where they can’t ever rest easy when the team is about to face an opponent that they should beat. In the case of the Orlando Magic, this is a team that the Raptors should obliterate. On paper. On the surface of it all, Orlando looks every bit the 6-20 team that they are as they trot out a very young roster filled with promise; we’re all looking at you Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. Those two names aside, the scary thing about this roster, injuries aside, is that it’s eerily similar to that of the Toronto Raptors. Long, athletic players that can initiate the offense and smother you on defense. Well, maybe the defense part is a bit of a stretch for the young Magic.
Two important factors to keep an eye on for a Raptors victory are controlling the glass and winning the turnover battle. Toronto is fourth overall in Total Rebound Percentage while Orlando is 10th. That’s good! On the flip side, a not entirely disconcerting stat is that, on the road — where Toronto is an ugly 3-9 —the Raptors drop all the way down to 18th overall in TRP while Orlando shoots up to 6th. Will the Amway Center in Orlando contribute to another poor — by their standards — rebounding performance from Toronto?
The other factor mentioned above is the turnover battle, and Toronto is one of the best in the league at both limiting turnovers of their own as well as forcing the other team into turnovers. As a matter of fact, Toronto is second in the league in both categories! Here, loyal readers, is where I don’t have any bad news to deliver, because Orlando is quite, quite bad in that department. The Magic rank 26th in team turnovers per game and 21st at forcing their opponent into turning the ball over. Toronto’s presence of mind and quality of opponent should be enough to carry them over their road-hump for another win on ledger.
So, tune-in and watch two gargantuan sized teams corral loose balls and crash the glass hard in what should be, if all woes of Raptors-teams-past have been vanquished, a Toronto W.
Where to watch:
TSN, 7:00 PM ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Christian Koloko
Orlando Magic — Markelle Fultz, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, Bol Bol, Moritz Wagner
Toronto Raptors — Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Juancho Hernangomez (ankle – out), Otto Porter Jr. (toe – out)
Orlando Magic — Wendell Carter Jr. (foot – out), Gary Harris (hamstring – out), Jonathan Isaac (knee – out), Chuma Okeke (knee – out), Jalen Suggs (ankle – out)