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Magic Trip Up in Toronto Spoiling Nicholson’s Homecoming

2012 November 18
by Matt Jensen

The Orlando Magic fell to the Toronto Raptors 97-86 Sunday afternoon at Air Canada Centre.   It was announced about 30 minutes before tip off that J.J. Redick would not play due to illness, sidelining Orlando’s best and most consistent player so far this year.  Glen Davis and E’Twaun Moore led the Magic in scoring with 16 points, with Arron Afflalo adding 15.  Toronto was led by DeMar DeRozan’s 20 points and Andrea Bargnani chipped in 17.   Moore’s points came off the bench, but it was a bench that struggled to score with Redick’s absence.

The Magic struggled most of the night to keep up with the running Raptors.  Glen Davis carried Orlando in the first half.  After a mini identity crisis at the start of the season, Big Baby is relishing his role as co-captain and go-to scorer.  He seems to have a patent on the clumsy, out of control, running hook in the lane that always seems to fall.  Davis also had 12 boards to go with his 16 points to give him his second consecutive double double.

After struggling in the first half, Andrew Nicholson had a good 3rd quarter in front of his Canadian fans who came out to see the native Canuck play against his home town team.  Nicholson grew up in Mississauga, Ontario – a Toronto suburb. He finished with 8 points in 15 minutes and had a team high +/- of +8.

Orlando struggled in the final stanza only putting 17 points on the board, about six of those were late threes to make the final score look closer than it actually was. The Magic led the game 72-71 with 9:36 to play before being outscored 23-8 in the next 5 minutes of game play. Six garbage time points from E’Twaun Moore made the score look closer than it was in the end.

Jose Calderon finished with 18 assists for the Raptors, as many as the Magic had combined.  When it came down to crunch time the Magic couldn’t handle the Raptors size and athleticism.  Today the Raptors made the extra pass to wide open shooters while the Magic struggled to create good shots for their teammates.

Today’s game exposed some glaring issues for the Magic going forward.  Defense as a whole is a major problem, but more specifically pick and roll defense really needs some attention.  Today the Raptors made a living out of pick and rolls and pick and pops.   If the Magic are going to continue to score in the 80’s, they are going to have to shore up the defensive end to give them any chance of winning.   They are also going to need to start games better.  The first quarter has been a problem most of the year.  A suspect offense and porous defense is not a good recipe for comebacks.

It will be interesting to watch how this team responds to their second back-to-back of the year.  Orlando finishes up the road trip tomorrow night at Atlanta.  Tip off scheduled for 7:30.

Matt Jensen is new to the MBO team and a proud contributing writer. He operates as MBO’s Sr. Sioux Falls Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter here.

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