If seeing tonight’s opponent — the Orlando Magic — leaves a bad taste in your mouth as a Toronto Raptors fan, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, it was this Magic team that the Raptors faced — twice! In a row! — in December, when the Raps were 13-13, getting healthy, and poised to make a run.
And we all know what happened. The Raptors played both games, looking alternatively bored and like a team that had never played with one another before, and dropped both games. The Magic were 6-20 at the time! Orlando has basically played .500 ball since and the Raptors have been... well, you know.
In hindsight it now feels like that two-game swing was the beginning of a long and painful end. And now here we are, post-trade deadline, with the Raptors still playing generally listless basketball, and not only expecting to beat the Magic tonight, but needing to if they do, indeed want to hang on to the final play-in spot that they are currently clinging to.
Can they do it? Well one thing I know for sure is that after 48 games, there’s no point in trying to predict which version of this Raptors team will show up. So no predictions here, but regardless of the play-in or the lottery... wouldn’t it be nice to get a win before the All-Star break?
Lineup-wise, the Raptors will once again start big — both Gary Trent Jr. and O.G. Anunoby remain sidelines, but Precious Achiuwa is back, and he’ll start alongside Jakob Poeltl. The Magic are missing Jonathan Isaac, who’s resting his knee on the second night of the back-to-back, as well as Cole Anthony.
Where to watch:
Sportsnet, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa
Orlando Magic — Markelle Fultz, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Harris
Toronto Raptors — Otto Porter Jr. (toe – out), Gary Trent Jr. (calf – out), O.G. Anunoby (wrist – out)
Orlando Magic — Cole Anthony (wrist – out), Goga Bitadze (not with team – out), Jonathan Isaac (knee – out), R.J. Hampton (not with team – out)