The Toronto Raptors’ hopes of finishing with a .500 record in December appeared absurd when the team opened the month with six consecutive losses. But the only thing standing between Toronto and a 7-7 record this month is the Orlando Magic, who will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak when they host the Raptors on Saturday. Toronto has won six of seven after outlasting the New Orleans Hornets in overtime 104-97 on Friday. The Raptors have also won both meetings with the Magic this season - both in Toronto.
Orlando’s spiral has been pronounced since power forward Glen Davis suffered a shoulder injury in a 90-83 victory over Washington on Dec. 19. The Magic haven’t won since and saw another injury crop up in Friday’s loss to the Wizards. Reserve point guard E’Twaun Moore sprained his left elbow while diving for a loose ball in the first quarter. He will be re-evaluated Saturday and his status for the matchup with the Raptors is unclear. Orlando raced out to a 25-8 lead Friday before wilting in the middle two periods.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TSN (Toronto), Fox Sports Florida (Orlando)
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (10-20): Lowry returned after missing seven games with a torn triceps and immediately made his presence felt. Coming off the bench, he scored 17 points on 5-for-7 shooting and added eight assists to spark a 49-point performance by Toronto’s reserves. The Raptors also committed only seven turnovers. Reserve Alan Anderson turned in another strong effort with 16 points and three steals. He has scored in double figures in six consecutive games, averaging 16 points in that span.
ABOUT THE MAGIC (12-17): Point guard Jameer Nelson scored a season-high 28 points in Wednesday’s loss to New Orleans and appeared he would match that against Washington in the first half alone. Nelson hit his first four 3-point attempts to help the Magic build a 25-8 lead less than seven minutes into the game, but he scored only two points the rest of the way and missed nine of his last 10 shots. Arron Afflalo had a team-high 26 points, matching the total he scored in a three-point loss to Toronto on Dec. 21.
1. Magic F Hedo Turkoglu, who suffered a broken hand in the season opener and hasn’t played since, is expected to suit up Saturday.
2. Raptors PG Jose Calderon has averaged 11 points and 13.5 assists in the two meetings with the Magic.
3. Orlando’s 12-game streak of holding opponents under 100 points was snapped in Friday’s loss.
PREDICTION: Raptors 91, Magic 88.