Game Preview: Magic vs Raptors

Tuesday night, the Toronto Raptors travel to take on the Orlando Magic in this rubber match on hardwood

Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tipoff: 7:00pm

TV: Fox Sports (Central Florida)

Radio: WDBO 580 AM

Records: Toronto-32-26, second place in the Atlantic division, Orlando-38-23, first place in the Southeast division. Toronto on the road- 14-13; Orlando at home- 17-11

Line: Magic by 2.5

This is the rubber match between these two clubs, as the first meeting went to Orlando, 105-96 back in November, and the Raptors dismantled the Magic 127-110 a little over a week ago in Toronto. The Magic hold a 24-21 lead in the all time series.

Starting Lineups:
PG: Jose Calderon (12.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 8.7 apg, 92% FT, and 54% FG).
SG: Anthony Parker (11.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 78% FT, and 47% FG).
SF: Jamario Moon (8.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 72% FT, and 47% FG).
PF: Chris Bosh (22.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 86% FT, and 50% FG).
C: Andrea Bargnani (10.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 82% FT, and 38% 3P).

PG: Jameer Nelson (10.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.6 apg, 82% FT, and 36% 3P).
SG: Maurice Evans (8.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.9 apg, 37% 3P, and 48% FG).
SF: Hedo Turkoglu (19.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.8 apg, 84% FT, and 39% 3P).
PF: Rashard Lewis (18.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, 84% FT, and 40% 3P).
C: Dwight Howard (21.7 ppg, 14.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 2.4 bpg, and 60% FG).

Key Bench Players:
SG: Carlos Delfino
SF: Jason Kapono
PF: Kris Humphries

PG: Keyon Dooling
SG: Keith Bogans
PF: Brian Cook

Statistically speaking

The Raptors are 11th in the league in points scored (100.2 ppg.), 6th in field goal percentage (46.59%), 6th in adjusted field goal percentage (51%), 1st in three point shooting (42%),2nd in free throw percentage (81.43%), 12th in field goal percentage allowed (45.14%),7th in opponents ppg. (95.8), 22nd in opponents three point shooting (37%),21st in steals (6.9/gm.), 2nd in turnovers (11.2/gm.), 27th in blocked shots (4.0/gm.), 26th in rebounding (40.4/gm.), and 6th in assists (23.4/gm.).

Here's how Orlando matches up: 6th scoring (104.3 ppg.), 5th FG % (47.06%), 2nd in adjusted FG% (53%), 7th three point shooting (38%), 24th FT% (72.61%), 11th FG% allowed (45.04%), 18th opponents scoring (100.4 ppg.), 19th opponents three point shooting (37%), 26th steals (6.2/gm.), 13th turnovers (14.0/gm.), 24th in blocked shots (4.3/gm.), 11th in rebounding (42.2/gm.), and 24th in assists (20.1/gm.).

What do the stats tell us? The Raptors and shoot the ball and defend well on the perimeter. They're a little soft on the inside and on the glass.

Best matchup for Toronto: Chris Bosh (if he plays) vs.Rashard Lewis (or Dwight Howard)- Bosh is a tough matchup for anyone, and he will push Lewis around down low. If Orlando opts to cover him with Dwight Howard, Bosh will simply take Howard outside and either shoot an 18 foot jumper, or beat him off the dribble. Bosh is averaging 33 ppg., and 7.5 rpg. against the Magic this year.

If Bosh doesn't play, best matchup is Jose Calderon vs. any Orlando point guard- Calderon is entirely too quick for any of the Magic point guards, and he will be counted on heavily if Bosh isn't available. Calderon has been better than his 14.5 ppg. and 9.5 apg. show against Orlando.

Best matchup for Orlando: Dwight Howard vs. Andrea Bargnani- Bargnani's game is finesse, and Howard eats those types of guys for dinner. Toronto will have to send double and triple teams at Dwight to keep him from having a huge night. Howard has averaged 27 points and 12 rebounds per game against the Raptors this year.

Key To Victory:
1) The Raptors will need Bosh if they are to compete in a game where they know their opponent, is preparing to bring nothing short of a 100% effort to win, following an embarrassing loss less than two weeks ago in Toronto. Should Bosh be unable to assist the Raptors, they will then need a huge game from two of their starters and Delfino (below). Calderon and Moon... Moon may be their top rebounding threat in the front court, as the remaining depth is very questionable on the glass.

2) Still a key point to defeating the Magic is allowing the bench depth to dictate the flow of the game. Since the Magic lack any defensive presence, simply turning Kapono and Delfino loose gives Toronto a great advantage, since Delfino is a strong scorer and rebounder from the bench, and plays very aggressive defense, and Kapono is a sharp shooter who can nail a shot with 1/2 foot of open space.

3) Let Calderon run this game if Nelson is matched up against him. If Bosh can go, it's his show, as the Magic never seem to have an answer to his explosive style fo play.

4. Try to get the Magic into foul trouble from the start, and keep the pressure up through the entire game. If they can get Howard out of the game early, and off of his game by keeping in question as to which defensive moves to make, they should be able to easily slow the Magic, as a team, on both sides of the ball.

5) The Raptors can play the half court game very well, and when the Magic are opposed by these offensive and defensive balanced teams, they tend to falter. Since this game is somewhat pivotal, there should be plenty of energy and intensity.

1) This could be the single most important game of this month. If the Magic are to take advantage of Bosh being injured and push back the Raptors, who could be a 1st round opponent, Orlando needs to make a statement. If the Magic can come away with a victory, it will mark eight out of the last ten in the win column, and it would be a confidence and moral boost this team need to finish this season off with, thus of all must win games for this month, this could and should be the biggest. Orlando must bring the requisite amount of intensity with them to the arena, and not sleepwalk into the second quarter.

2) With Bosh down, dominating the glass is key, as will be being very active on offense in the paint. Over the past nine games, the Magic have shown they can utilize other methods aside from jumpers and blinding amounts of three point shots to win a game. Moon is a tough interior defender, but on his own, he should not be able to shut down Howard, or Lewis from having a good inside game overall. Attack the basket at will, get to the line, and keep the Raptors off balanced.

3) The Magic must remember that tipoff is at 7:05, not 7:30. Orlando started the New York game off sluggish, and it wasn't a big issue, being that they didn't have enough depth to keep the team from taking the lead and taking the game over. The Raptors, on the other hand, have a good amount of depth that could be problematic if Orlando gets down early.

4) Take advantage of mismatches, and if Arroyo or Dooling matches up better against Calderon, then they must get the bulk of the minutes. Orlando must take advantage of every mismatch available, as Toronto is not a great defensive team.

Seth's Prediction:
Since there are reports Bosh will sit the next three games, and I don't know the legitimacy of the reports, it's hard to say whether or not he will play.

Even if Bosh does sit, Orlando hasn't played the Raptors well in over two seasons, this will likely be a very tight game from buzzer to buzzer. Magic by 2, it comes down to the final possession. (99-97).

Charlie's prediction:
You don't embarrass Stan Van Gundy twice in a little over a week. The Magic find a way to get the job done. Take Orlando, give the points.