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Raptors hope to continue home success vs. Magic

Mar 7, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Immanuel Quickley (5) passes against the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The injury-depleted Toronto Raptors are in search of more than another moral victory Friday night when they take a five-game losing streak into their clash against the visiting Orlando Magic.

The Raptors completed a 0-4 road trip Wednesday night with a 113-104 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

The Raptors will face a challenge in the Magic, who are coming off a 114-106 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and have won six of eight.

The Raptors (23-43) and Magic (38-28) meet again Sunday at Orlando.

Toronto’s trip included a couple of valiant efforts that fell short. They forced the Denver Nuggets to come back from a 22-point deficit in a 125-119 defeat Monday. The Raptors came back to force overtime in a 128-118 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Toronto continues to play without two key players: Scottie Barnes (hand surgery) and Jakob Poeltl (finger surgery). The Raptors also were without RJ Barrett (personal) and Gary Trent Jr. (groin strain) and Chris Boucher (knee) against the Pistons.

Barrett is listed as out for Friday and Trent is listed as questionable.

The Raptors led the Pistons by 16 points in the second quarter and were ahead 57-52 at halftime. They were held to 22 points in the third quarter.

Immanuel Quickley scored 25 points for Toronto and Kelly Olynyk had 19 points.

“We had 32 assists, but we weren’t able to get enough on the glass,” Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said. “We allowed too many second-chance points. That was the biggest difference.”

Toronto started the second quarter with a 26-5 surge.

“We had it at 16 points — 53-37 — but we lost a little concentration at the end of the half,” Rajakovic said. “That let them get it back to five.”

Paolo Banchero scored 21 points and added nine assists for the Magic in their win over Brooklyn.

“I give a lot of credit to Paolo,” said Magic center Wendell Carter Jr., who had 15 points and eight rebounds. “I’ve seen him kind of set the tone for everyone else before, and that was his approach tonight. We were a lot more physical than they were tonight.”

Jalen Suggs scored 11 of his 14 points in the first quarter to help the Magic take a 17-point advantage less than 10 minutes into the game.

After missing two games with a right thigh contusion, Suggs helped establish the Magic’s physical advantage.

Suggs hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter that helped Orlando take a 33-16 lead.

Markelle Fultz (left knee strain) returned after missing the loss to the 111-97 Indiana Pacers on Sunday. He had 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench against the Nets.

The Magic ended a two-game losing skid that started after they had won five consecutive games.

“We’ve got a good group that does learn and respond,” said Magic reserve forward Joe Ingles, who had six points against the Nets. “It’s better to happen now (the two straight losses) than in 18 games’ time or whatever.”

The Raptors have won 17 of their past 20 home games against the Magic (Nov. 18, 2012 – Feb. 14, 2023), including eight of the past nine.

The Magic lead the season series 1-0, after a 126-107 victory in Orlando on Nov. 21. The only current Raptors player that logged at least 10 minutes in that game and is not currently on the injury report is Gradey Dick.

–Field Level Media

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