The Orlando Magic are set to face the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night. This will be their toughest game since the NBA resumed play.
After struggling against the Pacers, Orlando looks to bounce back and properly execute the game plan.
Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford described their efforts against Indiana as “terrible.”
“Our defense, everything that was emphasized in the shootaround [that] morning they crushed us with….If we’re going to be a factor in this, we’re going to play smart and hard, and we did neither of those,” Clifford said.
Despite the loss, the Magic still rank first in points per game with 121.2, and have the league’s offensive rating, 110.7, since the season restarted.
Orlando will have to properly perform on both sides of the court as they will face the red-hot Raptors. Toronto is coming off of a big win against the Lakers and a victory over the Miami Heat.
The Raptors also eliminated the Magic from the playoffs last year.
“We have to be ready for 48 [minutes],” Magic’s forward Aaron Gordon. “We can’t ease into any of these games, especially with an elite team like Toronto.”
Orlando’s defense will be key to a victory against the Raptors. Since the restart, Toronto’s shooting guard Fred VanVleet has averaged 24.5 points , 7.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Point guard Kyle Lowry also has a hot hand with a 23.5 points per game average and 11 rebounds and 5.5 assists average to go with it.
The Raptors are also knocking down shots from behind the arc, as they are ranked fourth for most 3-pointers in the league per game this season.
A win against the Raptors is important if they want to get back even with the Nets for the seventh spot.
Forward Jonathan Isaac will be out for the remainder of the season after an ACL tear against Sacramento. Michael Carter-Williams left the game against Indiana with a sore left foot and it’s unclear weather or not he will play against the Raptors.
Recap vs. Pacers
After a dominating game against the Sacramento Kings, the Magic fell to the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers took control of the game from the opening buzzer.
The Kings grabbed an early 18-3 lead early in the first quarter. Orlando struggled to make easy shots, which seemed to affect their energy during the game.
While their offense seemed to work during the second quarter, their defense was still struggling. They allowed Indiana to score 71 points on the first half, the most a team has scored against the Magic in a single half this season.
The second half saw a much more firm Magic defense, with shots going in more. Eventually, Orlando was able to cut down the lead to 13 points in the third quarter, but four foul trouble from Aaron Gordon faded hopes of a full comeback.
The Pacers saw an opportunity with Gordon on the bench, as they pushed and kept their lead around 20 points for most of the quarter.
Orlando’s efforts were not enough as every time they cut down the lead, the Pacers would quickly extend it. Eventually the Pacers got the win with a 109-120 score.
All five Indiana starters reached the double-figures in scoring.
Orlando Injury Trouble
Orlando was affected by multiple injuries among its players. Small forward James Ennis IIIsuffered a dislocated finger in the opening half. He was able to return eventually.
Carter-Williams missed the second half with a sore left foot.