NBA London 2016: Toronto Raptors All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan out for revenge against the Orlando Magic

Magic beat the Raptors to end their early season winning streak in November

All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan will be out for revenge when his Toronto Raptors face the Orlando Magic at the O2 Arena, London, next Thursday. 

The 26-year-old, who has continued last season's fine form to become one of the very best at his position in the National Basketball Association, and his team had a rare off-night when the Raptors met the Magic in Florida in November.

Going into the game the Raptors had started the season on fire, winning all of their first five matches. 

But against the Magic, resurgent this season under new head coach Scott Skiles, the Raptors were below par, losing a close game 92-87.

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The Magic beat the Raptors in November - they meet in London next Thursday

DeRozan finished the night with 23 points, but he scoreless in the first-half and although Toronto erased a nine-point half-time deficit to get back into the contest, the slow start ultimately cost them.

"It should be an exciting game," he said. "They beat us earlier this season, they broke our streak when we were 5-0, so [we have to] just go out there and [take the] chance to redeem myself from the first time we played, and understand that they’re an exciting young team that we’ll have to come prepared for."

DeRozan was on the Raptors team the last time Toronto came to London - the first regular season games ever to be held were two thrillers against the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets).

In the first game, DeRozan was excellent in scoring 30 points, although the Raptors lost 116-103, while the second game was a memorable instant classic, with the Nets winning 137-136 in a triple overtime marathon.

"My first time going to London and going over there to play an NBA game was definitely awesome," said DeRozan. "[The fans] didn’t have one team they were cheering for, they were cheering for both teams. This is something I will definitely remember, and this is what made the game even more fun and competitive. I had a great time and I’m glad I’ll be going to represent the Toronto Raptors again."

DeRozan also said that the crowd at the O2 makes it a unique experience.

"Usually when you play in the States, the crowd is typically cheering for one team. When I played at the O2 Arena fans were so intriguing. Having a game over there, they were cheering for both sides. If a team scores the fans were definitely into the game and that type of energy led to an exciting game and it was extremely fun."

He added that the trip is a great time to bond with his team-mates.

"It’s definitely great just to get a change of scenery," he said. "Instead of going to our common NBA cities and playing, we’re going to another country, and we will take our families over there and they will experience something new that a lot of us haven’t seen. It’s definitely going to be amazing to go out there to have a couple of days, before we play and go out and play.

"Just to get a new experience and share something together is definitely going to be awesome."

He said that he doesn't have any particular plans in London yet but will give his family "a chance to at least explore. Just being in London is going to be fun."

The Raptors currently sit fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 22-15. They should be play-off certainties and are one of the few teams capable of competing with LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers for a berth in the Finals.

In the season so far, he said: "Progressing. We continue to get better every single time we step out there on the court.

"We’re always figuring out ways how I can be better and we can be better as a team. I think every day is a progression because towards the end of the season as long as we come together, all that matters is going to the playoffs and that’s what is going to count."

The Orlando Magic host the Toronto Raptors at The O2 in London on Jan. 14 as part of NBA Global Games London 2016. The game is live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Showcase or via NBA LEAGUE PASS

 

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