Magic-Raptors Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 20, 2012
While Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry remain sidelined, the Toronto Raptors are surprisingly playing their best basketball of the season. The Orlando Magic are too, though extending their four-game winning streak may be tough without Glen Davis. The visiting Magic won't have their starting power forward for the first time this season Friday night when they face the Raptors, who are also seeking a fifth consecutive victory. Orlando (12-13) ranks 26th in the league with 92.8 points per game but has picked up the pace of late, averaging 99.5 in its last four. The Magic's latest victory, though, came at a cost. Averaging a team best-tying 16.0 points and 7.9 rebounds, Davis fell to the floor after taking a hard foul with 47.8 seconds left in a 90-83 win over Washington on Wednesday. While an MRI revealed no structural damage on his sprained left shoulder, Davis could miss four to six weeks. "Everybody is key to this team because we've relied on everyone at different times," guard J.J. Redick told the team's official website. "Glen has been great for us, but we need other guys now to step up. We have capable guys who can do it. I don't expect us to drop off in any way." Big men Gustavo Ayon, Josh McRoberts and rookie Andrew Nicholson figure to take on more minutes with Davis out. The Magic will also surely need Redick to shoulder more of the scoring load. Redick, averaging career highs of 14.2 points and 4.9 assists, has scored 16.3 per game while going 13 for 26 from 3-point range during the team's run. "Our level of play and effort has been consistent all season," he said. "We still have a lot to clean up, but we're improving. That's the biggest thing right now." While Bargnani and Lowry have missed the last five games, Toronto (8-19) has outscored opponents by an average of 12.0 points during its four consecutive wins. Jose Calderon had 17 assists and DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points as the Raptors beat Detroit 97-91 on Wednesday. Toronto was outrebounded 44-33 and outscored 50-32 in the paint but committed a season-low six turnovers. "We're finding ways to win and that's the most important thing for our group," coach Dwane Casey said. "We're believing we can win, we're trusting each other, we're pulling for each other." The Raptors have also received a huge boost from Alan Anderson, who's averaged 19.3 points off the bench in the last three games. He scored 16 on Wednesday. "That's what he does," DeRozan said. "If a couple of us don't have it going, he's definitely one guy we can go to to get points or create something for somebody else." Toronto had dropped three in a row to Orlando before winning 97-86 on Nov. 18 behind a season-high 18 assists from Calderon and 20 points from DeRozan. Davis had 16 points and 12 boards.
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