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Magic-Raptors Preview

Nov 21, 2009 - 9:57 PM By ALAN FERGUSON STATS Writer

Orlando (10-3) at Toronto (6-7), 12:30 p.m. EDT

An injury caused Vince Carter to miss the Orlando Magic's first trip this season to face his former team, the Toronto Raptors.

After leading his new club to a key Eastern Conference victory, Carter will try to help the Magic follow with a fifth straight win Sunday in Toronto, where he played his first six-plus seasons in the NBA.

Carter scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, including the tiebreaking shot with 2:33 left, in Friday night's 83-78 victory at Boston, a rematch of last postseason's conference semifinals.

"I'm just glad I was able to deliver," he said. "This type of basketball game, you don't want to let down. This is what it's all about. This is the bar. It's great to see we were able to buckle down and persevere."

Rashard Lewis had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic (10-3), who trail Atlanta in the Southeast Division.

"This is a big game for us, a confidence booster," Lewis said. "We rode Vince a lot tonight."

Carter established himself as a star in Toronto before being traded to New Jersey in December 2004. The Magic acquired the Daytona Beach, Fla., native in a five-player deal from the Nets in June.

Carter got off to a slow start in Orlando as a sprained left ankle caused him to miss four of the team's first seven games, including a 125-116 win at the Air Canada Centre on Nov. 1.

Since returning to the starting lineup Nov. 11, he has averaged 20.4 points, including a season-high 29 in his first start back from injury.

Carter has scored at least 20 points in five of his last six matchups against the Raptors but also was a career-worst 0-for-13 in a 101-79 loss for New Jersey on Dec. 12, 2008. He's averaged 26.7 points on 50.7 percent shooting in his last three games in Toronto.

He'll face a Raptors team that's among the worst defenses in the league, allowing 108.2 points per game this season and 100 in a season-high four straight.

Toronto (6-7) snapped a three-game slide Friday night by shooting 57.7 percent in a 120-113 win over Miami to open a three-game homestand.

Toronto scored 69 points in the first half for a 20-point lead at the break, but that advantage was cut to one late in the fourth quarter before the Raptors went on a 13-2 run.

"We held our ground," said Chris Bosh, who had his eighth straight double-double. "They cut it very close, but we kept fighting. We kept scratching, and we got the stops when it counted."

Bosh is averaging a career-best 27.0 points and 12.2 rebounds and had a team-leading 35 points and 16 boards in the loss to Orlando earlier this month.

He has five straight double-doubles against the Magic since the start of last season and has averaged 30.2 points on 53.4 percent shooting in the last 10 matchups.

Orlando' star center, Dwight Howard, has been equally stellar in last four matchups versus the Raptors, averaging 30.5 points while shooting 59.7 percent.

The Magic hold a 5-3 edge in the series since the start of the 2007-08 season and are seeking their third straight win in Toronto.