Magic aim to find range against Raptors


The Orlando Magic will need to find their shooting touch Monday night when they visit the Toronto Raptors, who may have found a new defensive stalwart.

The Magic shot only 35.4 percent from the field — 16.1 percent from 3-point range — in a 103-99 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

“I’m not saying we’re going to make every shot, but you can’t shoot 17 percent (on 3-point attempts),” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “You’ve got to make quality shots. For the most part, we had the right guys shooting them.”

The Raptors, meanwhile, had a career-best four blocked shots from OG Anunoby, who also had 17 points and six rebounds Saturday in a 108-84 away victory over the Chicago Bulls.

“That’s what we need,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “(Anunoby is) 6-8 and athletic. We need him to help us with rim protection.”

The NBA champion Raptors have sandwiched wins around an away loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday.

The Magic have split their first two games, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 94-85 Wednesday at home.

“Actually, the other night (against Cleveland), our quality of shot was high and we didn’t make them, and (Saturday) was worse, especially with the game on the line,” Clifford said.

Evan Fournier led the Magic with 23 points Saturday.

“We couldn’t get anything going offensively and we missed a lot of open looks, especially from 3, and we missed some easy ones in the paint,” said Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds Saturday.

“It’s hard when you only shoot about 30 percent from the field and you go five for (31) from 3.”

The Raptors and Magic split four games last season, with each team having a road victory. The Raptors eliminated the Magic in the first round of the playoffs last season in five games. The Raptors have won nine of the past 14 regular-season games with the Magic.

The Raptors are counting on the emergence of Pascal Siakam to help offset the loss of Kawhi Leonard as a free agent during the offseason.

After scoring 34 and 33 points in his first two games, Siakam had 19 points and six rebounds against the Bulls.

Siakam is adjusting to increased coverage and double teams.

His problem so far has been committing offensive fouls. He had two Saturday and had five fouls overall. He has made 13 turnovers in the first three games, including five in Boston.

“I guess he’s got to be a little more careful,” Nurse said.

“I’ve got to be better making decisions with the ball knowing there’s more attention and there’s help coming,” Siakam said. “I’ve got to anticipate that, but also not be passive. So I’ve got to find my balance on that and not be in a hurry. If there’s an opportunity to go quick, I can go quick. If not, I’ll just relax, see how the defense plays it and make plays.”

Siakam was pleased to see the development of Anunoby.

“He did a great job defending, blocking shots, he looked like Serge (Ibaka) a little bit out there,” he said. “He’s been hanging out with Serge so I guess he got a little tips on how to block shots but I’ve never seen act like that so that is good.”

–Field Level Media