Quick Reaction: Magic 109, Raptors 121

9 mins read
Image via NBA.com
ORL Magic 109 Final
Box Score
121 TOR Raptors

P. Siakam28 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 2-9 FG, 1-3 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 3 +/-

Ugly start. Missed his first five, had an awful turnover. Just didn’t look like the Siakam we’ve grown accustomed to. To be fair to all the consistency Pascal has shown this season, this was easily one of his worst performances of the year. With his track record, bet the house on him bouncing back.

K. Leonard27 MIN, 15 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 5-12 FG, 1-3 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 19 +/-

Leonard started getting into rhythm just as the first quarter came to a close. Then, he left the game and Toronto instantly looked lost on both ends. Leonard didn’t tear down Orlando by any stretch, but it was clear that his presence on the floor fueled Toronto all game long.

M. Gasol25 MIN, 13 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 4-8 FG, 2-3 3FG, 3-3 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 24 +/-

Gasol didn’t protect the rim to his standards in the first half. A lot of that had to do with Raptor guards simply allowing red carpets into the lane, which created simple kick-outs and dump-offs inside. During the 2nd half, he dominated on that end. Vucevic struggled badly in one-on-one opportunities. Best plus/minus from both teams points to his impact.

K. Lowry27 MIN, 12 PTS, 6 REB, 7 AST, 3 STL, 3-6 FG, 3-6 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 19 +/-

This was a good night for Lowry to prioritize distribution over scoring. Green was possessed while Gasol, Leonard and Ibaka all chipped in. Toronto will need Lowry to score once the bright lights come on, but by now we all know just how many ways this bulldog can affect games.

D. Green28 MIN, 29 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 11-15 FG, 7-10 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 3 TO, 19 +/-

Unlike other Raptors, Green started the game scorching-hot from beyond the arc. He hit six of his first seven shots, and four of his first five 3PT attempts. And guess what? He just kept scoring. And scoring. And scoring. Easily his best offensive night of the year. How did Toronto acquire this guy as a throw-in again? HOW?

F. VanVleet27 MIN, 10 PTS, 0 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 3-6 FG, 2-4 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 16 +/-

Freddy played his usual ball. He controlled tempo, didn’t necessarily explode the box score but had a favourable plus/minus. His consistent effort is something that doesn’t go unnoticed.

S. Ibaka20 MIN, 15 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 7-10 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-1 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, -2 +/-

Serge had a solid night. Ibaka’s easily been one of Toronto’s best, most consistent players this season. Gasol did deserve more minutes, but this wasn’t a sweeping indictment. Both played well. He’ll be incredibly important to the team’s impending playoff run. If he fully embraces the reserve role, watch out.

N. Powell17 MIN, 7 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 3-6 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 0 +/-

Powell’s statistics may tell one story, but goodness gracious did he play his tail off defensively. With Lin being more or less a bust thus far in the season, Nick Nurse may rely on Powell as the ‘last piece’ of his upcoming playoff-tightened rotation (beside VanVleet and Ibaka).

J. Lin17 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -9 +/-

Lin didn’t get much of a chance to make a mark, but do you truly blame Nurse for that? Lin’s looked like a non-NBA player for the majority of his Raptors tenure. Tonight wasn’t much different. He didn’t negatively stand out, but was almost a ghost — having little to no impact on the game itself. Ugh.

J. Meeks12 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -8 +/-

Meeks came in with the rest of the Raptors deep-reserves and they all wet the bed. Orlando made a late run, which forced Nurse to make some quickfire decisions.

J. Loyd4 MIN, 5 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-1 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-

(See Malcolm Miller)

C. Boucher4 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

(See Jordan Loyd)

M. Miller4 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-

Not enough minutes tonight to deserve a grade. But the ‘blowout’ lineup almost gave a comfortable lead away just like that.

*Insert Tyra Banks “We were all rooting for you” GIF*

Nick Nurse

Look, minus OG and McCaw — Nurse employed a fully-healthy Raptors roster. Everyone came out incredibly flat, with most Raptors looking totally disinterested. Not a good look. The second half looked more Raptor-like, with Toronto bogging down defensively and destroying Orlando in transition. The halftime adjustment was crucial.

Things We Saw

  1. Tale of two halves. Orlando began the game shooting 62.5% from the field in the first quarter, while dropping 36 points. If we’re keeping it real, everyone and their mother was scoring for Orlando. The points were spread evenly among Magic players — 7, 6, 5, 5, 5, 4, 2, 2 — highlighting just how effective this Clifford-coached roster can be when they’re able to execute properly. Then in the 2nd half, TOR showed why they have 54 wins (55 now) and ORL has 38.
  2. The first-half whistle was… let’s call it ‘strange’. Not a single personal foul was called on Orlando in the first 12 minutes. Sure, I guess. Then the 2nd quarter came and some of the weirdest calls I’ve seen this season (had to rewind for confirmation) were called. The number of fouls began to even up as Toronto upped their aggressiveness, but the early officiating was undeniably questionable… at best.
  3. I know this was a convincing win, but Toronto may not want to see the Magic in the 1st round. Orlando has all the necessary weapons to limit Leonard and Siakam better than most NBA teams. They don’t have the offensive firepower to stay with Toronto in a series — but make no mistake, they will make it tougher than most teams. The enormous length, versatility and defensive ability does not bode well for a favourable playoff matchup. In three previous matchups before this game, they held Toronto to under 100 points.
  4. Cool to see Kawhi Leonard pay tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) —a hip-hop artist, community activist, and close friend of Leonard’s. Kawhi paid homage by leaving a handwritten message (‘ALL MONEY IN’) referring to the late rapper’s music label. Hussle also featured in Kawhi Leonard’s #BoldLikeKawhi Foot Locker commercial.

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