|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 28, 2018
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida Attendance: 18,846
Raptors hope to continue dominance over Magic
Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic
- The Raptors beat the Heat in Miami, 106-104, after losing three consecutive games on the road. They came back down 58-44 in the first half and scored 37 in the third quarter; the Raptors are averaging 29.9 points in the third quarter, most in the NBA.
- Orlando has lost four straight and seven of its last nine, scoring under 100 points in seven of those games. The Magic are averaging 96.3 points this December -- only the Bulls (95.8) are scoring at a lower rate.
- Toronto beat Orlando, 93-91, on November 20. The Raptors have won five straight against the Magic, averaging 109.2 points while holding Orlando to 98.8 points per game. They shot 40.0 percent from three in those games compared to the Magic's 32.0 percent.
- Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 30 points against Miami, his 10th game with at least 30 points. He has led his team outright in points in 22 games this season, sixth most in the NBA.
- Nikola Vucevic recorded his 22nd double-double of the season with 22 points and 13 rebounds against the Suns on Wednesday. He has recorded at least 20 double-doubles in all seven seasons with the Magic -- only Dwight Howard (eight) has a longer streak in franchise history.
- Aaron Gordon is shooting 34.9 percent on two pointers this month, second worst in the NBA behind Alec Burks' 33.3 percent (minimum 100 field goal attempts). However, he is shooting 43.2 percent from three, on pace to be his best in any month in his career (minimum 40 attempts).
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Kawhi Leonard was the centerpiece of the trade that brought Leonard to Toronto and sent icon DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio.
Danny Green was a nice inclusion in the deal, and he is responsible for two of Toronto's league-best 26 wins.
One of those wins occurred a little over a month ago in Orlando, and the Raptors will head to Orlando again Friday night looking to continue their recent dominance over the Magic.
The Raptors (26-10) enter with a five-game winning streak over the Magic. They also own 10 wins in their last 12 visits to Orlando and 19 wins in the last 22 meetings with the Magic since the start of the 2012-13 season.
The latest win over Orlando was courtesy of Green. On Nov. 20, Green lifted Toronto to a 93-91 win at Orlando by hitting the game-winning fade-away jumper with less than a second remaining.
Green's game-winner in Orlando was Toronto's second win in an eight-game winning streak. Since that streak ended, the Raptors are 6-6 in their last 12 games, with four of those defeats on the road.
Toronto nearly took a loss Wednesday but Green hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 22.7 seconds left in a 106-104 win at Miami. Green scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting as Toronto rallied from 17 points down for the third time in a game that featured 12 lead changes and four ties in the fourth quarter.
"I just ran to the corner and somehow I was wide open," Green said. "It didn't matter how. They swung it, they found me and I had enough under me, enough rhythm to knock down the shot."
While Green hit the game-winner, Leonard scored 30 points after sitting out Saturday's loss in Philadelphia. Leonard recorded his 10th 30-point game of the season and the Raptors are 8-2 in those games.
When Green hit the game-winner to beat the Magic, he took the inbounds pass from Kyle Lowry. Lowry did not play Tuesday due to back tightness, marking the fifth time in six games he sat, though the other instances were due to a thigh injury.
If Lowry sits again, Fred VanVleet would likely start in his place. VanVleet scored 16 points against Miami and is averaging 12.8 points in eight games in the starting lineup.
Orlando entered the first meeting with Toronto holding a 9-8 record but has not had a winning record since. The Magic missed their first 11 shots of the fourth quarter against the Raptors and then gave up Green's game-winner.
The loss to Toronto started Orlando's slump of 11 losses in 16 games. Orlando also enters with four straight losses since winning two home games played in Mexico City Dec. 13 and 15 against Chicago and Utah.
The Magic's latest setback was a 122-120 overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns. The Magic entered that game averaging 88.6 points in their last eight contests but reached 120 points for the third time this season.
Still, despite one of their highest-scoring games of the season, the Magic endured scoring droughts at inopportune times.
D.J Augustin scored 27 points, including three free throws to force overtime. Nikola Vucevic added 22 but his basket was Orlando's only points in overtime as the Magic went 1 for 10 in the extra session.
"We had some good looks that we missed," Vucevic said. "We had some that maybe were a little quick. It's hard in overtime if you go zero of nine. We did get stops a couple of times in a row, but we have to score as well."
In overtime, Orlando used four starters and reserve Terrence Ross, and the heavy workload was necessitated by ineffectiveness by reserves Jerian Grant, Jonathan Simmons, rookie Mo Bamba, and Ross, who combined for 33 points but shot 11 of 27. The ineffectiveness led to Augustin and Aaron Gordon playing over 40 minutes and Vucevic playing 39 minutes.
"It's the whole challenge," Magic coach Steve Clifford said of getting consistency from his reserves nightly. "Same thing tonight (as other nights). Part of the overtime (struggles) was that those (starter) guys are out there so much and so long, but it's out of necessity."
It is something Clifford hopes to figure out with what lies ahead for the Magic. After Sunday's home game against Detroit, Orlando starts a six-game road trip, and 15 of its next 24 games are on the road.
Updated December 27, 2018