The Orlando Magic make a short trip to Tampa Bay for a road game at Amalie Arena against the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors, as you know, are playing all of their home games in Tampa Bay as a result of Covid-19 restrictions in Canada. It hasn’t been much of a home for the Raptors, and clear that despite having a temporary home, they would like to be back at their facilities in Toronto.
This is a team that is holding practices in a ballroom at a hotel in Tampa. They share Amalie Arena with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s not like they can just have their practices there if they wanted to. The Raptors are coming off a 126-124 loss against the Sacramento Kings on Friday. It was another tough loss to drop the Raptors to 7-12 on the season.
The Raptors are down valuable talent from last season, as Serge Ibaka signed with the LA Clippers and Marc Gasol went to the other team in LA. I don’t think people realized how much of an impact the absence of Gasol, and most importantly, Ibaka would have on the Raptors. That’s especially true for their defense.
The defense has looked extremely vulnerable this season without Ibaka and Gasol in the paint to defend. Not only are they without Gasol and Ibaka, but the Raptors are dealing with injuries to two of their better contributors. OG Anunoby, who recently signed a new contract with the Raptors, is out on Sunday against the Magic.
Anunoby was also out against the Kings with a calf injury, so the Raptors are keeping their fingers crossed this doesn’t linger. He doesn’t get the most respect in the NBA, but is one of the more underrated players. The Raptors may be without Norman Powell, too. Powell is doubtful and doesn’t look like he is going to play due to a quad injury.
The Raptors are looking to end a three-game skid, while the Magic seek an end to a two-game skid. The Magic are 8-12 and have lost eight of their last ten outings. They did battle hard in some games, though, such as a 120-118 loss against the Pacers in overtime, and a 122-115 loss against the Nets. Something has to go right for one team tonight in Tampa. Head below for our free Magic vs. Raptors pick on January 31, 2021.
Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors NBA Betting Odds:
Magic vs. Raptors Prediction:
There hasn’t been much that has gone right for either team, but the Raptors were at least expected to be a playoff team. They are going to have to fight to earn a spot in the playoffs. As it stands now, the Raptors would finish 12th in the East. It’s not difficult to reach the postseason in the East, though their effort so far isn’t good enough. Expect a couple of sub-.500 teams to get into the playoffs against in the Eastern Conference.
Like I mentioned above, the absence of Gasol and Ibaka on their defense has done a number. Throw in the injury to OG, and the Raptors really need somebody to step up defensively. Pascal Siakam, who is being paid elite money, must be elite on both sides of the floor. The Raptors have conceded an average of 110.7 points per game for 13th in the NBA. They’ve gone from very good to mediocre defensively. The loss of OG on defense was apparent against the Kings.
Sacramento sliced through the Raptors’ defense for 126 points in the two-point victory. Their offense has been spotty, which pretty well sums up the play of Siakam. He has been spotty for the Raptors. Siakam is averaging 18.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. That sounds nice, and he’s coming off a big performance with 32 points, but Siakam has to be more consistent than he has been.
Like the Raptors, the Magic have been an average team that hasn’t generated much of a rhythm. They are 16th in the league with 110.9 points, while scoring only 104.8 points per game. With OG and Powell both scheduled to be out tonight, the Magic catch a break. It’s hard to lay 5.5 points on the Raptors in their current state, even against an opponent like the Magic. Expect the Raptors to pull this one out, but too many points to cover.