Tonight, the Toronto Raptors look to continue their road to a perfect season against the Orlando Magic. Let it be noted that the Raptors are undefeated and have a better record than both the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. After a strong performance against a potential playoff team (Atlanta Hawks) the Raps should see this game against the Magic to separate themselves from the bottom feeders of the Eastern conference. Orlando has a young team with a lot of lottery talent, so this could very well become a trap game for Toronto if they take these young up-and-comers lightly. Coach Jacque Vaughn is a solid coach (kinda reminds me of an early Dwane Casey) who has the trust of his players, so expect the Magic to come out fighting for their first victory of the season.
Cage’s Keys to the game
The Raptors are on the road for the first time this year. Last year, Toronto had one of the better road teams in the entire league (tying for 1st in the East). For the Raps to come out on top they’ll need to attack the paint, as Orlando doesn’t have any lengthy shot blockers to counter Toronto’s athleticism. If Kyle Lowry has shown Raptor fans anything, it’s that he fears nothing. Frankly, Elfrid Payton and Luke Ridnour will be no match for this bullish vet. If Lowry leads by example, be sure the rest of the team will take note and follow his lead.
Feed the beast
In this case the beast being Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas. Last game Big Val-Nasty finished with an incredibly efficient 17 points on 5 shots. His shooting percentage was 80% from the field and 90% from the line, his only problem last game was his foul trouble early on. With the starters JV becomes the 3rd and sometimes fourth option which is unfortunate, but when on the court with the likes of a Greivis Vasquez he gets a lot more touches allowing his teammates to work around him as the focal point on offense. The Raptors are still monitoring Val-nasty’s minutes so let’s hope they get him involved early so he can stay fresh for tomorrow’s game against the Miami Heat.
The Raptors are a very good team. However they aren’t quite at the point of being a great team where they can afford mental lapses. What seemed like a sure win for Toronto against Atlanta quickly turned into a nail biter as the team started coasting towards the end of the game. The Magic are a team with developing talent with Nikolas Vucevic in the middle and Victor Oladipo in the backcourt. They’re a scrappy bunch that will fight for 48 mins. Let’s hope Toronto doesn’t play down to the level of their competition and show the NBA early why they deserve to be one of the top teams in the Eastern conference.
X-Factor: Kyle Lowry
There is no one on the Magic roster that contain this monster. Last season in 3 games Kyle Lowry shot his best against the Magic averaging a season high 25.7ppg 7ast and 4.7rebs. If Lowry has his way, this game will be done swiftly. KLow over and out.