Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Ed Davis, Aaron Gray
Orlando: Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, Dwight Howard
Toronto: Amir Johnson will sit this one out with a sore knee, while Andrea Bargnani’s return date is still a mystery.
Orlando: Quentin Richardson is day-to-day.
No other NBA team has been slept on this season as much as the Orlando Magic has. They’re at 24-14, they’ve won eight of their last 11 games, and Dwight Howard is averaging 20 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks while many people accuse him of not giving a full effort every night. They might not be a championship contender, but the Magic are still pretty damn good.
Curiously, the Raptors have won three of their last five matchups with the Magic and only lost by six the last time these teams met on New Year’s Day. Of course, Bargnani scored 28 points in that game while he’s still recovering from a calf injury going into this one. Don’t be surprised to see the Raptors’ collection of big men foul Howard early and often in this game, as they try to punish him for his career-worst 49.4 percent free throw shooting.
Magic power forward Ryan Anderson can go off on his own if the Raptors somehow manage to keep Howard in check. Anderson has had four 20/10 games this season (including two separate 23/15 performances) and he posted a 14 and 20 line in just 27 minutes against the Sixers on Jan. 30. I don’t know if his emergence will help convince Dwight to re-sign in Orlando (probably not) but Anderson provides the Magic with their own “Bargnani-esque” player to potentially rebuild around.
This is more impressive than funny, but here’s “Sonny Weemsas” winning the Lithuanian league dunk contest over the weekend: