The visiting Toronto Raptors will be out to continue their dominance of the Orlando Magic on Friday night in the opener of a two-game set between the teams.
The Raptors have won 30 of their past 36 games against the Magic, including a 121-108 home victory on Dec. 3.
The Magic have dropped 16 of their past 19 home games against the Raptors, including one when Orlando was the designated home team in a game at London.
Orlando will enter the game with some momentum after ending a nine-game losing streak with a 116-111 overtime victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
The Magic trailed 32-14 after the first quarter against the Clippers but tied the game with a 28-21 fourth-quarter advantage.
“Really is big for this group,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “They communicated in the huddles, which I love, when we were down, not getting too far down, staying in the moment. They understood exactly what they (had) to do in these moments.”
Orlando rookie Paolo Banchero scored 10 of his 23 points in overtime, including six free throws in the final seven seconds. He was 13 of 14 from the free-throws line in the game.
“I think the ball just found me later in the game,” Banchero said. “I think I was aggressive the whole game, but I was just letting it come to me. I was going to take my opportunities when they came. I don’t really go in the lane thinking I’m trying to get fouled. I’m just trying to score.”
Bol Bol had 20 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots for the Magic, and Moritz Wagner, who also scored 20 points, grabbed 13 rebounds.
The Magic were still down by 17 points with 4:11 to play in the third quarter.
“Our energy helped us get a lot of stops down the stretch,” Bol said.
The Raptors, meanwhile, had an easy time getting past the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 126-113 on Wednesday. The Lakers were without LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Patrick Beverley.
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each scored 25 points for the Raptors, who led by as many as 27 points and never trailed.
Particularly encouraging for Toronto was the scoring output by VanVleet, who recently had been in a slump.
“He certainly came out aggressive,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “He got to the basket a lot more than what he’s been doing. He got his share of layups. I just thought he played with some real good leadership. Defensively, I thought he was really tough. I thought he had a really solid game. I’ll take that from him for sure.”
VanVleet did struggle from deep, going 3 of 12 from 3-point range and went 8 of 20 from the field overall.
“I’m not really concerned about it,” VanVleet said. “Obviously, nobody wants them to go in more than me — trust me — but it’s just the way it goes sometimes.
Scottie Barnes had 13 points and matched his career best with 17 rebounds on Wednesday.
The Magic had several players out Wednesday, including top rebounder Wendell Carter Jr. (plantar fascia strain), who will be out for at least two more weeks. They also were without Gary Harris (strained right hamstring), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness), Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness) and Jonathan Isaac (left knee recovery).
Precious Achiuwa (right ankle sprain), Juancho Hernangomez (right ankle sprain) and Otto Porter Jr. (toe dislocation) did not play Wednesday for Toronto.
The teams play again Sunday at Orlando.
–Field Level Media