Short-handed Orlando Magic topple Toronto Raptors

With Vince Carter (ankle) and Mickael Pietrus (flu-like symptoms) being scratched from the lineup just before tipoff — and Rashard Lewis (suspension) and Adonal Foyle (knee) missing for other reasons — the Orlando Magic used all nine of their active players in a rag-tag rotation on Sunday afternoon against the Toronto Raptors. Thanks to some splendid shooting and efficiency, the Magic were able to outscore the Raptors 125-116. Jameer Nelson (30 points), JJ Redick (27), Dwight Howard (24) and Ryan Anderson (20) carried the scoring load as the Magic built a 22-point first-half lead and were able to hold off a late charge from Chris Bosh and the Raptors.

  • Three seconds

    1. JJ Redick played like a starting-caliber shooting guard. Maybe Redick just isn’t comfortable being a role player. In relief of Carter, Redick played more than anyone else in the game (44:50) and showed flashes of the all-American player he was at Duke. Redick went 5-for-8 from 3-point range on his way to a career-high 27 points, but it was more than that. He posted six rebounds, five assists, a steal and only one turnover, finishing with the game’s best +/- of 12. Redick proved on Sunday — even to the most passionate skeptics — that he belongs in the NBA.

    2. Hedo Turkoglu played well, but he was kept in check. Turk likely isn’t having any regrets about today’s game, scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He looked thin and in-shape. It’s easy to forget how fluid he is coming off the pick-and-roll and hitting that mid-range jumper — at times in the second half he looked really, really good.

    3. The Magic shot the lights out; it was one of those games. Every so often, the Magic have a game where all the 3s seem to fall. When this happens, the Magic are nearly unbeatable and everybody talks about the team’s awesome ball movement. This was one of those games. The shots were going in tonight. There’s really no explanation, outside of that, A) the players were in rhythm and perhaps a bit more focused with so many starters missing, and B) the Raptors are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.

  • What to like You have to love how the team rallied together and beat an above-average team despite missing three starters, including two all-stars. All summer long we’ve been talking about the Magic’s jaw-dropping depth — tonight, we saw proof of it. You take three starters from any NBA team and they’ll struggle. Jameer Nelson finally had his breakout game that we knew was coming, leading the Magic with 30 points and five assists. It’s official: he’s the same Jameer of pre-injury. The Magic turned it over just nine times, playing efficiently and effectively. There really wasn’t anything to dislike offensively. And the Ryan Anderson for Courtney Lee switch continues to swing in Orlando’s favor.
  • What not to like Whenever you give up 116 points, you’re not happy. The Raptors are a good offensive team, but still — this Magic team wants defense to be its calling card. A game like this is not something they’re proud of. Chris Bosh played a ridiculous game (35 points and 16 rebounds), like he always seems to do, and Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points. Allowing the Raptors to claw back in the game after trailing by three touchdowns early on isn’t something the Magic like. Again, it was a road game with three missing starters, but it’s worth mentioning.
  • Behind the box score: For his career, Chris Bosh is averaging 23.1 points per game against the Magic. The only team he’s averaging more points against is the Charlotte Bobcats (25.7).
  • Magic’s best: Redick, who played his best game as a pro. Nobody missed Vince Carter today (although we probably will tomorrow).
  • Magic’s worst: In 14 minutes, Marcin Gortat did almost nothing. It wasn’t that he looked bad; he just looked invisible.
  • Up next: The Magic complete their mini road trip with a game at Detroit on Tuesday night. The Pistons, as recently as last regular season, have owned the Magic, so it’s always interesting going up to Michigan.
  • Philip Rossman-Reich

    About Philip Rossman-Reich

    Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily