Raptors entertain road-weary Magic
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors hope to catch a break Sunday in the finale of a three-game homestand, as they host the road-weary Orlando Magic.
The Raptors ended Cleveland's six-game winning streak with Friday's 98-91 triumph and were led by Terrence Ross's 20 points. Jonas Valanciunas followed Ross with 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Toronto, which has won four of five and eight of its last 12 games.
Toronto limited All-Star Game MVP Kyrie Irving to 17 points.
"You've got to stay defensively sound with him (Irving)," said Ross, who spent much of the game defending the dynamic point guard. "He can score. And defensively if you slow him down, you slow the team down."
All-Star DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry scored 14 points apiece in the win.
Toronto is third in the Eastern Conference standings -- one-half game ahead of Chicago -- and has a four-game lead on Brooklyn in the Atlantic. The Raptors are trying to move six games over .500 for the first time since Feb. 24, 2010.
The Raptors are 10-3 at home since New Year's Day and are averaging 93.2 ppg at Air Canada Centre in that stretch. DeRozan has helped that cause and is posting an average of 25.1 points this month (9 games).
Orlando will begin a four-game road trip Sunday against Toronto, Washington, Philadelphia and Miami, and has lost 14 in a row as the visitor. It's the longest road skid since a 16-game drought from Jan. 27-March 21, 2006.
The Magic's last road victory was an 83-82 decision over Chicago on Dec. 16.
However, the Magic have won four of their last seven games -- all at home -- and ended a three-game losing streak with Friday's 129-121 double-overtime triumph versus the New York Knicks.
Arron Afflalo scored 32 points and rookie Victor Oladipo posted 30 points, a career-high 14 assists and nine rebounds for the Magic, who overcame a 14- point deficit in the second half and had a 16-8 advantage in the second OT.
"I really feel like I haven't scratched the surface of how good I'm going to be. I honestly believe that," Oladipo said.
Afflalo tied the game at 106-106 on a jump shot with 42.9 seconds left in regulation, but Nikola Vucevic missed a layup to win it. He also missed on a shot at the end of the first overtime and finished with 14 points and 15 boards. Tobias Harris had 22 points for the Magic.
Afflalo (ankle) is expected to miss Sunday's game at Toronto, which handed the Magic a 98-83 setback on Jan. 29 at Air Canada Centre. The two teams will meet again March 30 in Orlando.
The Raptors have won five in a row against the Magic and are unbeaten in the previous three encounters north of the border.