NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 20th (All times Eastern)
Orlando Magic (12-13) at Toronto Raptors (8-19), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Two teams with four-game winning streaks collide Friday night when the Toronto Raptors welcome the Orlando Magic to the Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors' run of great play started with a home drubbing of the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 14 and ran through Wednesday when they dispatched the Detroit Pistons, 97-91 in Canada.
Three of Toronto's wins during this streak came in Canada. The Raptors are 6-5 in their own building and will head out on a three-game road trip after Christmas.
What has made this Raptors' run all the more impressive is that it has come without arguably their best two players, Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry. Both have been sidelined with injury and are not expected back soon.
DeMarr DeRozan has picked up the scoring slack and had 23 in the win against the Pistons. Jose Calderon is as steady as the come and has been great replacing Lowry. Calderon handed out 17 assists against the Pistons.
"Right now we're finding ways to win and that's the most important thing for our group," said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. "Now we're believing we can win, we're trusting each other, and we're pulling for each other."
The Magic also won three games at home during their winning run, but head out on the road where they are 5-7. Their last victory came in Orlando against the Washington Wizards, 90-83.
Only four Magic players scored in double-figures against the Wizards and J.J. Redick led the way with 17 off the bench. E'Twaun Moore and Arron Afflalo both had 15.
Glen Davis chipped in 12, but he left the game with a shoulder injury. An MRI revealed no structural damage, just a sprain, but he's expected to be out four-to-six weeks.
"He will be treated non-operatively," Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said in a statement. "Treatment will include rest and subsequent strengthening of the muscles around his shoulder. His return will depend on progress made during his rehabilitation."
Davis shares the team lead in scoring at 16.0 ppg. It is unknown who head coach Jacque Vaughn will replace him with in the starting lineup, but rookie Andrew Nicholson is a strong choice. Nicholson hasn't played much in the last two, but in the five games prior, Nicholson logged over 16 minutes in each and averaged 12.8 ppg.
The Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak to the Magic with a 97-86 victory in Toronto on Nov. 18.
12/21 10:44:40 ET