The first two meetings between the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors showcased what both teams do best offensively.
So it was fitting that Sunday’s game, the third in nine days between the two sides, was primarily a defensive battle.
The frequency of playing against each other created familiarity, which led to the Magic and Raptors disrupting opposing offenses.
In the end, the Magic capitalized on the advantages and opportunities they created, beating the Raptors 111-99 at the Amway Center.
The win was the Magic’s third straight (8-20) season-best winning streak.
Orlando beat Toronto Friday 113-109 after falling to the Raptors 121-108 in Toronto on Dec. 3. The Magic kicked off the winning streak with a 116-111 home win in overtime over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
The Magic and Raptors both struggled to create good scoring opportunities early, leading to the Raptors having a 19-18 lead late in the first and both teams shooting under 40%. from the field when the Magic took a 47-39 halftime lead. .
The offenses came alive in the second half, with the Raptors winning the third 36-35 to cut the Magic’s lead to 82-75 heading into the final quarter. But the Magic got the buckets early in the fourth — and the defensive stops — needed to create separation.
With the Magic leading 86-79, there was Franz Wagner’s pull-up 3 with 10:04 remaining which kicked off a streak of three straight Wagner 3s to give the Magic a 95-79 lead.
Mo Bamba had a comeback dunk and Cole Anthony made a floater to keep the Magic’s lead at 16 midway through the fourth, with the Magic holding at least an 8-point lead for the rest of the game.
Wagner scored a team-high 23 points, including 11 in fourth, on 6-of-14 shooting and 8-of-10 free throws.
Bamba (18 points on 6-of-6 shooting, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks) and Anthony (14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists) combined for 32 points off the bench.
Paolo Banchero, who hit the midrange shot to give the Magic a 109-99 lead with 46.5 remaining to seal the victory, added 20 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists.
Gary Trent Jr. (24 points) and Fred VanVleet (20 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals) led the Raptors (13-14), who have lost three of their last four games and five of their last seven.
Sunday ended the Magic’s “baseball-style” streak – when two teams play back-to-back games at the same location with no travel in between – of the season.
They will play three more: at the Boston Celtics (Friday and December 18); at 76ers in Philadelphia (January 30 and February 1); vs. Cavaliers in Orlando (April 4 and 6).
Wendell Carter Jr. (strained right foot plantar fascia), Gary Harris (strained right hamstring), Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery), Chuma Okeke (left knee pain) and Jalen Suggs (left knee pain) right ankle) sat down on Sunday.
On Wednesday, the Magic will wrap up a five-game homestand against the Atlanta Hawks.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Prize to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.