Raptors do want to play the Orlando Magic
The Toronto Raptors are the second seed in the East, at the moment. In a choice between being matched up against the Brooklyn Nets (seventh in the East and the Raptors’ likely first-round opponent) or the Orlando Magic, the Raptors would likely prefer to warm-up to the rigors of the NBA Playoffs against the Orlando Magic.
Orlando did give the Champions a scare in the 2019 Playoffs winning game one of their first-round series thanks to a game-winning shot by point guard D. J. Augustin but the Raptors took the series four games to one. However, all-time, the Raptors lead this regular season match-up 49-39. This season, the Raptors are 3-0 vs the Magic with a 90-83 victory when they last met on November 29th, 2019. The Raptors have won the three contests by an average of 10.6 points per game.
It appears Orlando would be an easy test to ramp up to the stiffer competition as the playoffs progress in 2020. The Magic are just 30-35 when the season was suspended on March 11th, 2020. While the Magic are ninth-best defensively in the NBA, their 24th best offensive would have to navigate the Raptors’ defense which is second in the league and quite impressive.
In the 2019 NBA Playoffs, Marc Gasol dominated the paint defensively for the Raptors and Orlando’s double-double machine, Nikola Vucevic, managed to average just 11.2 points and eight rebounds head to head vs Gasol in five games during that first-round series.
The Toronto Raptors also held Orlando to less than 100 points per game in the final four 2019 first-round playoff games. The Magic have scored less than 100 points in all three losses this season against Toronto as well.
Finally, Orlando’s struggling offense may be hampered by the fact that shooting guard Evan Fournier strained his UCL in his right elbow. However, even with over two months to rest and heal due to the COVID-19 layoff, Fournier likely would not have been able to practice shooting until the elbow healed. Fournier averages 18.8 points per game for second-best on the Magic roster.
Any drop off in Fournier’s play combined with Orlando’s already atrocious recent history against Toronto and their near bottom of the league offense would make a great start to the 2020 playoffs for Toronto.