NBA London 2016: Orlando Magic beat Toronto Raptors in nail-biting preview of O2 clash

Orlando Magic 92 Toronto Raptors 87

The Orlando Magic defeated the previously unbeaten Toronto Raptors in a nail-biting early season preview of the game that will come to London’s O2 Arena in January.

The 20,000 people, who sold out the arena in less than an hour, who pack into The O2 will certainly leave happy if the game is anything like this one. After a give and take four quarters the Magic were able to hold out for an impressive win against the Raptors that went down to the wire.

The game wasn’t finished until the final minute after All-Star guard DeMar Derozan, who led all scorers with 23 points, could only hit one of two three throws late in the game – he would have levelled the score if he made both attempts. Toronto got the ball again after the ball went out of bounds off a magic player but their final play was ugly, with Jonas Valanciunas unable to make an awkward shot.

The win was even more impressive as the Magic started without Nikola Vucevic, who had a slight knee injury, starting instead with Dewayne Dedmon. The home side started strongly and led by Tobias Harris, who ended with 20 points, the Magic built an impressive first quarter lead.

Evan Fournier struggled with his shot but Victor Oladipo, Harris and Dedmon were excellent at both ends of the floor, while CJ Watson was superb off the bench; the Magic had won just one of their first five matches but had built a shock nine-point lead by half-time.

But after half-time the Raptors, who had won all of their first five, were much improved and took less than two minutes to restore parity. But rather than push on from there, Toronto were unable to push on with the three-point shot an issue all night as they hit just five of 23 attempts.

Down the stretch the two teams traded impossible shots but the vociferous support at the Amway Center became more of a factor and the Magic were able to score an impressive win that bodes well for British fans on 14 January.

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