The Toronto Raptors’ magic number for clinching the Atlantic Division is three. With the way Chris Bosh usually plays against the Orlando Magic, they may have a good chance to further decrease that number.
Bosh and the Raptors look to sweep the season series with the Magic for the first time in franchise history when the teams meet Wednesday night.
Toronto (41-33) had a chance to move closer to clinching the Atlantic, but lost 92-89 at Miami on Tuesday night. The Raptors’ magic number remained at three over idle New Jersey, which hosts Atlanta on Wednesday.
“We got the ball to the people we want to get the ball to and sometimes you win them and sometimes you come up short,” Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. “We got the things we were looking for, so I have no complaints.”
Bosh had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead Toronto. Two of his highest scoring games this season have been against Orlando (34-40). He recorded a career-high 41 points in a 113-103 Raptors win on Feb. 7, and a game-high 34 in a 92-85 victory on March 21.
Bosh missed the first meeting between the teams - a 91-84 Toronto victory on Dec. 13 - because of a bruised left knee.
The Raptors held the Magic to 90.7 points per game and 41.9 percent shooting in the three games, putting them in position to sweep the season series for the first time in their 12-year history.
Toronto has lost three of its last four on the road, though, scoring less than 90 points in each of those losses.
Orlando has dropped two its last three games overall, although both of the losses came in overtime. The Magic are one-half game behind the Nets for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Jameer Nelson had a driving layup blocked with less than five seconds left in Sunday night’s overtime period, as Orlando lost 105-104 to Minnesota.
“It’s frustrating, it’s frustrating,” said Nelson, who had a season-high eight assists in the defeat. “We had our opportunities.”
Hill is averaging 21.7 points while shooting 53.5 percent from the floor in his last three games. He had 24 points in the March 21 loss to the Raptors.
Dwight Howard, facing double and triple teams, had only eight points against the Timberwolves, continuing his recent offensive struggles. He is averaging 10.0 points - 7.5 below his season average - over his last five games.
Howard, though, had 19 rebounds Sunday and is averaging 13.1 boards in his last 12 contests.
Bosh will face Howard again in a matchup of two of the NBA’s best young power forwards. Howard is averaging 22.0 points and 11.3 rebounds in three games against the Raptors this season.