Struggling Magic look to end skid vs. high-scoring Raptors
Scoring over 100 points is becoming a regular occurrence for the Toronto Raptors and so is winning.
After clinching their fifth straight winning season, the Raptors attempt to top the century mark for the 13th consecutive game Wednesday night when they visit the Orlando Magic.
Toronto (42-17) averages 112.2 points per game and its offensive rating is 113.8.
During their run of winning seasons, the Raptors have averaged the following: 106.9 points in 2016-17, 102.7 in 2015-16, 104 in 2014-15 and 101.3 in 2013-14. Their current season average would be the highest in team history and their offensive rating would be the best in team history.
Those figures have resulted in 12 straight games over 100 points and the Raptors are 10-2 in those games after pulling away in the third quarter for a 123-94 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
Overall, Toronto has topped the century mark in 49 games and Monday was its 19th game with at least 120, the second most in the league behind Golden State and the most in team history.
These figures place Toronto in position for the top seed in the East with 23 games left. Toronto is one half-game ahead of the Celtics and Wednesday is one of 11 remaining games against losing teams, though.
"Honestly, I'm not a standings guy," Raptors forward C.J. Miles told the Toronto Star last week. "Like, when people ask me, I've got to go look. Like, I've got to go look. I know, obviously, what we're doing because we talk about it every day and it's talked about every day, but for the most part I don't dwell on it."
Monday's showing featured 52.5 percent shooting, a 15th straight game with at least 20 assists and the 40th game with at least 10 3-pointers. It occurred two nights after the Raptors missed 25 of 34 3-point attempts in a 122-119 overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
"A game like last game we kind of needed this to knock us back on track, especially coming off the break and understand what we need to do and get back to and we did that tonight," Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan told reporters.
DeRozan and Kyle Lowry scored 20 points apiece while Toronto's productive bench put the game early in the third.
DeRozan played 29 minutes and has only played at least 35 minutes in this stretch since Monday was Toronto's eighth double-digit win since Jan. 26 when it lost 97-93 at home to Utah.
Serge Ibaka added 19 and is averaging 19 points on 57.8 percent shooting in his last three games. He will be making his return to Orlando, where he played 56 games before being traded for Terrence Ross in a move that occurred eight months after the Magic traded All-Star Victor Oladipo to get him from Oklahoma City.
Orlando (18-42) is on a six-game losing streak and clinched its sixth straight losing season with Monday's 112-105 loss at Oklahoma. The Magic are on their fourth losing streak of at least six games but in this skid, the average margin of defeat is 6.3 points.
Orlando's latest loss occurred after a near flawless showing on offense in the first half. The Magic shot 56 percent and scored 62 points by halftime, but those totals dropped to 42 percent and 43 points in the final two quarters.
"We still have that letdown where if we're missing shots, we let down on defense and we've got to get out of that," Orlando forward Aaron Gordon told reporters. "That's a sure-fire way to lose the game. We just slowed down, and I think our energy dropped."
Orlando's skid is occurring after it won three straight Feb. 5-8 and with Gordon and Nikola Vucevic in the lineup.
Gordon is averaging 15.7 points in his first three games back from missing nine games with a hip flexor, but the forward is questionable for the game with the same injury. Vucevic is averaging 16.3 points in his first three games back from missing nearly two months with a broken bone in his left hand.
Toronto has won 15 of the last 18 meetings.
Updated February 27, 2018