Title: Deep Dive Series Preview: How do the Raptors and Magic matchup? A study of playing styles, rotations and more
Date: April 11, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I performed a deep dive into the lineups, rotations, key matchups, playing styles and more for the first-round playoff series between the Raptors and Magic.
Where do Terrence Ross, Jeff Weltman and D.J. Augustin rank on your Raptors revenge scale? Surely, there is less emotional baggage with the Raptors drawing the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs than if they had drawn the Detroit Pistons.
With eight scenarios still in play Wednesday night, the Raptors didn’t find out their opponent until late. Still, they were probably unconcerned. They carry themselves, statistically and by reputation, as a team that should not fret any first-round opponent. The Magic, though, blew them out twice this year and seem to have some sound defensive answers to the Raptors’ best players. Among the possible outcomes, this was probably the least preferable for opponent quality, if not for narrative.
It should be a fun series.
To help us get started on our preview content, what follows is a high-level data dive to get a snapshot of each team over the course of the season. A lot of the Raptors’ data is less than illuminating given the circumstances this year, and the Magic are only slightly more clear after a mid-season turnaround. It’s the best we have, and we’ll apply the requisite context to try to make it as instructive as possible.
There are caveats to consider. Nick Nurse and Steve Clifford will tweak their base strategies for the opponent — Nurse is a particularly interesting unknown given how messy the Raptors’ own samples for the year are — personnel might dictate rotation tweaks and, as always in a short-ish seven-game series, there will be ample room for variance. That sweet, beautiful 3-point variance is coming for one team or another, so brace yourselves.
Consider this a first sweep of how the two teams performed during the regular season and upon what lines the series might be battled.