|2009/2010 NBA Season|
|January 6th, 2010|
|Jarrett Jack||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|DeMar DeRozan||SG||Vince Carter|
|Hedo Turkoglu||SF||Matt Barnes|
|Chris Bosh||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Andrea Bargnani||C||Dwight Howard|
|November 1st: Magic 125, Raptors 116|
|November 22nd: Magic 104, Raptors 96|
|December 16th: Magic 118, Raptors 99|
When the road-weary Orlando Magic take the Amway Arena floor tonight against the Toronto Raptors, they'll face a team slightly different from the one they've pounded in each of the first three meetings this season. Toronto's won 6 of its last 7 (albeit against a fairly weak schedule, Sunday's win over San Antonio notwithstanding) and its defense improved dramatically in December. Point guard Jose Calderon, who sat out last month's meeting, will return to action tonight in relief of Jarrett Jack as coach Jay Triano attempts to keep lineup continuity in the wake of his team's recent hot streak.
The Magic and coach Stan Van Gundy are at a loss right now. The team is on its second losing streak of the season and needs to snap out of its offensive funk. Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard have shot poorly of late and the team's confidence might be wavering as it struggles on offense. Howard thinks the team might be over-thinking a bit. Whatever's ailing the Magic, there's no time like the present for them to return to their winning ways. Toronto has yet to beat a .500 team on the road this year. If the Magic come out sharp, they should run the Raptors off the floor. But that's why they play the games, yes? After all, the same could be said for the Magic against the Bulls and the Pacers, which both outplayed them to earn hard-fought wins. By all rights, the Magic should be riding a 4-game winning streak right now, with 3 of their next 4 games (counting tonight) against teams with losing records.
Don't miss tonight's tip at 7 PM. Also, don't miss the newest episode of Magic Overtime with Dante and Galante, in which the pair visit with former Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, now of the Raptors. If you're a Magic fan looking for optimism in the team's recent play, I don't have anything for you. But one year ago today, the Magic--two days after losing to the Raptors--handed Washington an 89-80 defeat to kick off a 7-game winning streak. So, um, there's that.