The Toronto Raptors welcome the Orlando Magic to the great white north on Saturday night in a contest that is billed to be uneven at best. Both teams will be on the latter half of a back-to-back. Orlando lost to the Cavaliers in Cleveland 107-96, and Toronto lost to the Nets in Brooklyn 114-105 on Friday night.
However, that is about the only thing similar between the two squads, with Toronto keeping up with the pack and Orlando stuck at the bottom in the East. The Raptors are heavy favorites, with the spread set at 10.5 points.
This Orlando squad visits Toronto in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, three on the road and four at home. This will also be the second night of a brutal road back-to-back stretch for the Magic. Scoring the 28th most points per game in the league at only 108.3, their middle-of-the-pack defense hasn’t been enough to keep them afloat. They sit dead last in the Eastern Conference with a record of 5-18.
According to Basketball Reference, two of those losses should have been victories, but that still doesn’t paint a bright picture of the team’s current position. Head coach Jamahl Mosley could be in the hot seat in just his second season, though this season’s results are not surprising, considering the team only won 22 games last season.
What is surprising, however, are the teams the Magic have managed to defeat, including Golden State, Dallas, and Phoenix, a small silver lining for an abysmal first quarter of the season.
The Raptors have had a considerably better season than their Saturday opponents, especially at Scotiabank Arena, where they’ve lost just two games.
Part of the key to their success is their turnover percentage which is ranked best in the NBA. The Toronto defense is also a pillar of strength for the team, giving up just 109.3, which is 7th in the league. They enter the Saturday contest with an even record of 11-11.
Their woes have come almost entirely on the road, with Toronto only coming out victorious on three occasions, making home matchups like the upcoming game all the more important. Pascal Siakam has been making an impact for Toronto, leading the team in all three major categories with 24 points, 7.1 assists, and 9.2 rebounds per game.
Scoring has been coming from around the lineup, with six players, including Siakam averaging over 12 points. However, their overall scoring has lacked, as they net just 110.7 on average per game, ranking them 19th in the NBA.
Pick and Prediction
Orlando has been nothing short of incompetent this season, while Toronto has been dominant at home. This makes any idea of an upset very implausible.
The spread is large, and Orlando has been able to defeat a few good teams this season, but especially on the back end of a road back-to-back, expect Toronto to complete the blowout.
I’d give the points on this one.