Raptors Welcome Magic
The Orlando Magic's improved play on the road is a big reason for their comfortable lead atop the Southeast Division.
They will be coming off one of their most impressive road performances of the season Wednesday night when they visit the Toronto Raptors.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Toronto –4.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 207 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed on Orlando +4.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
The Magic (34-21), who own an eight-game lead in the Southeast Division, have won an NBA-best 20 games away from home. Their 20-10 road record comes one season after they were 15-26 away from Orlando.
The playoffs appear to be a certainty for the Magic, who won their third consecutive road game Tuesday, beating Detroit 103-85 to halt the Central Division-leading Pistons' 10-game winning streak.
Rashard Lewis keyed the victory with 20 points, picking up the slack for Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, who combined to shoot 6-of-22 for 20 points.
"I certainly didn't foresee that happening," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "A lot has to go right for us to beat the Pistons like that, especially on a night when Dwight Howard scores eight points and Hedo Turkoglu goes 4-for-13.''
Howard, Orlando's scoring leader (21.4) and among the league's top rebounders (14.5), had four blocks in a strong defensive showing. The performance came after the center had 23 points and a season-high 24 boards in a 109-98 win over Denver last Wednesday in the Magic's final game before the All-Star break.
Lewis, who had 25 points in that contest, has connected on 17 of 24 shots in his last two games. He is averaging 29.5 points in his last four visits to Toronto (28-23), including a 24-point performance in his last game there, a 105-96 victory on Nov. 11 that snapped Orlando's six-game skid at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors, who have alternated wins and losses in the last nine games, expect to have coach Sam Mitchell back after he missed two games following the death of his father-in-law. The team split the games without the reigning NBA coach of the year, losing 93-88 to San Antonio on Feb. 11 before leading by as many as 30 points in a 109-91 win over New Jersey two nights later.
"I think we learned a lesson from the last game against the Spurs and we played hard from the beginning," Raptors guard Jose Calderon said. "That is what we have to do every game."
Calderon hopes the break will not interrupt his superb shooting from the last three games, a span that includes a 22-point, 12-assist performance on 9-of-12 shooting against the Nets. He is averaging 21.3 points and 9.3 assists during that stretch, shooting 24-for-33 (75.8 percent), including 7-for-10 from 3-point range.
Calderon is second on the Raptors with career highs of 12.9 points per game and a team-best 8.9 assists.
"It's too bad he missed out on the All-Star game, I think he was overlooked," center Chris Bosh said. "He is giving us a lot right now and he just has to continue working, playing with confidence and we are going to go as he goes."
Bosh, who had 14 points and seven rebounds in his third All-Star appearance Sunday, is looking to improve on his 27 points and nine rebounds from last Wednesday.
Toronto's leader with 22.5 points and 9.2 boards, Bosh is averaging 32.3 points and 11.0 rebounds in his last four games against Orlando. He tallied 26 points and 10 rebounds on Nov. 11.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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