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Opening 8-game homestand, Magic look to sweep Raptors

TORONTO — Although the Magic and the Raptors each made 14 3-pointers during Friday’s matchup at Scotiabank Arena, the way the long-range shots came about couldn’t have been more different.

Half (7) of Orlando‘s perimeter baskets came in situations where the Magic drove into the paint, were trapped by multiple defenders and passed the ball out to the perimeter for a quality look.

It’s what has worked well for Jamahl Mosley‘s squad throughout the year when players such as forward Paolo Banchero (who had 8 assists Friday) tend to attract attention from opposing defenses near the basket.

Meanwhile, the Raptors had 7 of their 14-made 3-pointers come in transition, often off long-range shots missed by the Magic who, at times, failed to run back on defense.

On at least three occasions, multiple Magic defenders were caught trailing Toronto’s ballhandlers who either pulled up from beyond the arc themselves or made one pass to an open shooter waiting for the ball.

Orlando, which won 113-103 on Friday, knows it needs to do a better job of limiting fastbreak opportunities for the Raptors when the sides meet again Sunday at Kia Center (Bally Sports Florida, 6).

The Magic (39-28) already have clinched the regular-season series over the Raptors (23-44) but another win would secure a sweep — something Orlando hasn’t done against Toronto since 2011-12.

“It starts with our shot selection and making sure we take care of the ball, then finding shooters,” Magic forward Franz Wagner told reporters in the locker room on Friday night. “Especially in the last quarter, they got a lot of open 3s out of transition. But it starts on offense.”

Beede’s Breakdown: How visiting Magic overcame Raptors’ fastbreak scoring

Although the Raptors outscored the Magic by plus-24 (37-13) in fastbreak points, it’s worth pointing out that this is what fuels Toronto’s offense.

Leading the league in fastbreak points this season (19.3), the Raptors are likely going to have success in this area regardless of the opponent.

Since the All-Star break, Toronto has recorded 20-plus fastbreak points in nine of its last 12 games, outscoring opponents by 137 (303-166) in this category.

Still, the Magic are aware of how they helped feed the fastbreak scoring on Friday.

Whether it was due to turnovers (Magic committed 15 for 20 points), Toronto grabbing long rebounds off missed 3s from the left corner (where Orlando shot 2 of 9), or losing shooters in the mix of transition play, the Raptors took advantage of the mistakes made by the Magic.

“They’re running make-or-miss, so we’ve got to make sure that’s a heightened focus that we’ve got to get back and make them play in the halfcourt,” Mosley said.

Orlando, whose injury report remains empty, entered Saturday’s games a half-game back of the fourth-seeded Knicks (39-27) and two games ahead of the sixth-seeded Pacers (37-30).

Securing a top-4 seed in the East would mean homecourt advantage in a first-round playoff series. It should be a goal for a young squad such as the Magic, who are 22-9 at home this year.

It helps that the final meeting with the Raptors marks the start of a season-long eight-game homestand for Orlando at Kia Center.

Toronto will be without 2022 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes (fractured left hand), center Jakob Poeltl (left hand ligament tear), Montverde Academy product RJ Barrett (personal reasons) and guard DJ Carton (right ankle sprain) for the second game in a row.

“We’ve got to have the right mindset coming into Sunday — coming into every game, honestly,” Wagner said. “Every game matters for us.”

Jason Beede can be reached at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com