The Toronto Raptors will have to shake off Wednesday night's overtime loss to the defending champion Miami Heat pretty quickly as they finish off a quick Florida trip Thursday night versus the Orlando Magic.
The Raptors fell in South Beach, 123-116, in extra time. Seven Raptors scored in double figures and Toronto took one of the NBA's best 53 minutes before falling.
"I cannot fault our guys' effort," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "They fought, they scrapped, they played with their hearts and they took one of the best teams in the NBA to the limit. That's what I said before the game. This game is about respect. This game's about going out there and not letting teams think they're going to come out and get their numbers against you. And our guys fought."
The Raptors couldn't contain LeBron James or Dwyane Wade on Wednesday. No shame in that as James had a 20-footer to win it in regulation clank off the back iron.
James went for a triple-double and Wade scored 25, but the Raptors did it with balance. Alan Anderson led the way for Toronto with 20, but Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan, Jose Calderon, Terrance Ross and Kyle Lowry all cracked the 10-point mark.
The Raptors only committed nine turnovers and shot 50 percent against the Heat, but the defending champs shot almost 55 percent and outrebounded Toronto, 53-28.
The Magic have been dreadful for almost six weeks. They are 2-14 since Dec. 21 and have lost three in a row, including home losses to the Charlotte Bobcats and Dallas Mavericks.
The most recent setback during this slide came Tuesday night in Detroit. The Magic fell to the Pistons, 105-90, and left their leader a little shell- shocked.
"I'm a little surprised," admitted head coach Jacque Vaughn. "I was really excited and enthused by our approach tonight. Just not the results we were after."
Vaughn changed the starting lineup, inserting J.J. Redick as the first-line shooting guard. He shot 9-for-10 and 5-for-6 from the 3-point line for a game- high 26 points.
DeQuan Jones fell out of the starting lineup and Arron Afflalo moved from the two-guard to small-forward position. That move did not pay off as Afflalo went scoreless in almost 38 minutes. Afflalo, the Magic's leading scorer at 17.0 ppg, didn't even attempt a field goal until the third quarter.
"Having four veterans on the floor and Nik (Vucevic), who's been playing extremely well for us, would be to our advantage," said Vaughn.
The Raptors, who have lost five of their last six, have won all three meetings with the Magic this season, including a 123-88 drubbing in Orlando on Dec. 29.