Game Preview: Raptors at Magic
The Toronto Raptors are in Orlando to take on the Magic after dropping a tough 109-104 decision in Boston against the Celtics on Wednesday. The Magic have dropped two straight following a victory against the Raptors on Jan. 29.
Tip-off: 7:00 P.M. ET
Broadcast Info: TSN / SN590
The previous two meetings between these teams couldn't be more different. In Toronto's first trip to Orlando, the Raptors recorded one of their most lopsided victories of the season, winning 109-79 in a game where the starters were able to rest for the entire fourth quarter.
When the Magic came to Toronto on Jan. 29, Orlando's margin of victory couldn't have been smaller, as the Magic collected a 114-113 win against the Raptors. Nikola Vucevic led the way with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Reserve guard D.J. Augustin exploded for 21 points off the bench on 7-for-10 field goals. A 33-point effort from Kyle Lowry and 22 points from DeMar DeRozan in his first game back from an ankle sprain weren't enough to extend the game.
DeRozan status unknown
The status of All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan is not known for Friday's game against the Magic. DeRozan sprained his ankle on Jan 22 against the Phoenix Suns and missed the next three games before returning for Toronto's 114-113 loss to the Orlando Magic in Toronto on Jan. 29. DeRozan sat out for the team's previous back-to-back, a home win against the New Orleans Pelicans and a road loss to the Boston Celtics.
Patterson's return welcomed
Dwane Casey has had his hands full shuffling lineups and rotations over the past month as the team has been dealing with various injury woes. While DeMar DeRozan has been in and out of the lineup with an ankle sprain, Patrick Patterson missed much of January because of a sore knee. Patterson missed 10 games in January because of the injury before returning Jan. 24 against the San Antonio Spurs.
Although Patterson's numbers have been conservative since his return, the impact of having him back on the floor has been huge for a Raptors team that has gotten used to all he's able to do each night that doesn't show up in the boxscore.
In Toronto's recent 108-106 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans, Patterson scored 10 points to go with seven rebounds. A glance at the boxscore showed that the team was a +21 when Patterson was on the floor in a two-point victory. Simply put: things are generally easier on both ends of the floor when Patterson is in the game.
Dwane Casey discussed his team's effort in a losing battle after dropping a 109-104 decision to the Celtics in Boston, mentioning limitations the team has been dealing with because of injury.
I thought our guys battled and I loved our fight, scrap,” Casey said. "We've got to continue that, get everybody healthy, get guys off minutes restrictions and then we'll go to war, but I liked our fight.”
Getting Patterson back to playing his normal role is a start. A healthy DeRozan is next on the list.