Game Preview: Raptors vs Magic
Toronto Raptors (26-10) @ Orlando Magic (14-19)
When: Friday, December 28th, 7 P.M. ET
Where: Amway Center
Leading into tonight’s game:
Injury Report: For the Raptors, Jonas Valanciunas is out with a dislocated left thumb. The status of Kyle Lowry (lower back pain) and Chris Boucher (left ankle sprain) is to be determined. For the Magic, Timofey Mozgov is out with a sore right knee.
Finding a way: The Raptors head to Orlando after hanging on for a 106-104 comeback victory against the Heat in Miami on Wednesday. The Raptors trailed by 17 points in the third but outscored Miami 37-21 in the quarter to go into the fourth ahead by two, setting up a back-and-forth battle in the final frame. After a Justise Winslow layup put the Heat ahead by one with 35.2 seconds remaining, Danny Green drilled the go-ahead corner three to put Toronto up two with 22.7 seconds remaining. The Heat would not score again.
Recent history: While the Raptors are coming off a hard-fought road victory, the Magic enter Friday’s game having lost four straight and seven of their last nine. Most recently, the Magic dropped a 122-120 overtime decision to the Phoenix Suns in Orlando. This will be Toronto’s second meeting with the Magic this season, and second in Orlando. The Raptors earned a 93-91 victory against the Magic on Nov. 20 behind an 18-point performance from Kawhi Leonard. Toronto has won five straight against the Magic, with Friday's game being the final game in a three-game road trip. The team will return to Toronto after they face the Magic to close out 2018 against the Bulls at Scotiabank Arena on Dec. 30.
FVV on a roll: Fred VanVleet scored 16 points against the Heat, starting in place of the injured Kyle Lowry. VanVleet has started six of the previous seven games he has appeared in with Lowry missing time because of a thigh contusion and back pain. He missed a game against the Denver Nuggets because of lower back stiffness but has topped double figures in scoring in six straight games and is averaging 14.0 points on 43 percent shooting from the floor, as well as beyond the arc.
Points on the board: Kawhi Leonard’s 30 points against the Heat on Wednesday was his 11th straight game scoring 20+ points. This ties a career-high, previously set during Feb. 8 - Mar. 6 2017. Leonard ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring and is averaging 26.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals in 35.0 minutes per game. His points and rebound per-game averages are both career-highs. He is also shooting 49 percent from the floor, 38 percent from three, and 86 percent from the free-throw line.
Green Ranger: In addition to scoring the go-ahead corner three-pointer against the Heat with 22.7 seconds remaining, Danny Green scored 18 points in 34 minutes in Miami. He shot 7-for-10 from the floor, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. Green also added six rebounds, two assists and a steal. Despite being in his first season with the Raptors, Green has emerged as an integral part of Toronto’s lineup, missing just one game due to injury this season and starting all 35 games he has played. On the season he is averaging 9.9 points,4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 29.8 minutes a night. He is also at the top of the NBA’s +/- leaders.