Raptors-Magic Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 29, 2012
The Orlando Magic had won a season-best four straight before running into the Toronto Raptors just over a week ago. Not much has gone their way since. The Magic try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season Saturday night against the visiting Raptors, who look to keep rolling with a third consecutive victory in the season series. Frustrations are surely starting to take their toll on the Magic (12-17) after being handed another tough loss Friday, 105-97 at NBA-worst Washington. Arron Afflalo scored 26 while J.J. Redick added 23 for Orlando, which was outscored 23-7 in transition and dropped to 0-4 since losing Glen Davis to a sprained left shoulder. "We have to mix and match some lineups again and see if we can create some energy," said coach Jacque Vaughn, whose team lost five straight Nov. 6-13. "We gotta create a way to stop the opponent's ball from going in - so that's the next phase." Orlando's loss snapped a league-best 12-game stretch of holding opponents to 100 points or fewer. The Wizards, meanwhile, reached triple digits for the first time in 12 games. "There isn't an excuse for being bad defensively, and we are bad defensively right now, and it's surprising because we've been good defensively all season," Redick told the league's official website. "Every team in the NBA is capable of scoring if you don't play D." Orlando has been outscored by an average of just 4.5 points during its skid, which began with last Friday's 93-90 road loss to the Raptors (10-20). The Magic, who also fell 97-86 at Toronto on Nov. 18, could have their hands full again if the Raptors' recent efforts are any indication. Toronto entered Friday having lost 15 of 17 on the road before escaping with a 104-97 overtime win at New Orleans - its sixth victory in seven games overall. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 30 points for the Raptors, who took care of business in OT after letting a 13-point lead with just over five minutes left in regulation slip away. "We knew right from the jump ball, ain't gonna be no second overtime," said Alan Anderson, averaging 16.0 points over the last six games. "We played that five minutes and just blitzed them." Kyle Lowry also came up big in his first action since missing seven games due to a partial tear of his triceps, posting 17 points to go along with a team-high eight assists off the bench. Lowry, who's appeared in just 17 games this season due to injury, could give the Raptors a huge boost if he can stay on the court. "I did a lot of conditioning to be prepared to come back and play - I just wanna help the team," said Lowry, averaging a career-best 15.9 points. "The last couple of weeks, the ball has been moving really well. I just wanted to come out and keep that going and not try to do too much." In addition to Davis' absence, Orlando could be without backup point guard E'Twaun Moore after he suffered a sprained left elbow Friday. Veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu, though, is hoping to suit up for the first time since breaking his left hand in the season opener.
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