Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Magic 104, Raptors 101, Magic lead series 1-0

ORL Magic 104 Final
Box Score
101 TOR Raptors

P. Siakam42 MIN, 24 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 12-24 FG, 0-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -8 +/-

Isaac caught him once or twice with some good defence, but Siakam kept coming. I’m continually amazed by the soft touch he has when moving full speed. This season he was a revelation from long range, but until he shows that he can do the same in the playoffs opponents are going to willingly cheat off of him as needed.

Halfway through the fourth quarter Siakam challenged Vooch at the rim (with Ibaka) for a big block, with the ball going out of bounds. On the same possession Siakam got a second block, getting a touch on Fournier’s corner 3.

K. Leonard33 MIN, 25 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 10-18 FG, 3-5 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, -2 +/-

Very first possession we got a glimpse of what to expect. Kawhi worked his way into the lane and his a soft fadeaway from the left elbow. Just a few possessions later he did the exact same thing from the right elbow. The Magic have no response for someone of Kawhi’s size and skill. He slowed down though missing 5 straight shots in the second quarter though.

The end of the game was Kawhi scoring in isolation leading up to the Raptors final possession. With the game tied Kawhi drove to the lane and had room for a floater or to try and finish at the rim. Instead he kicked it out to Gasol for an open corner 3 which narrowly missed.

On the next Magic possession Kawhi and Gasol got involved in the pick-and-roll, and both dropped. A crucial defensive possession and Kawhi played it wrong. That one hurt.

M. Gasol32 MIN, 13 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 2-5 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Created a bunch of good looks with his passing. Many didn’t create buckets but by placing the ball in the right spot he forced the Magic into several fouls. Gasol also functions as a nice little release valve with his mid-range jumper and the ability to stretch the floor.

Gasol provided solid one-on-one defence of Vucevic forcing difficult shots or kickouts. Much of their regular season success was due to Vooch dominating his counterpart, but Gasol played him even and that’s more than enough.

K. Lowry34 MIN, 0 PTS, 7 REB, 8 AST, 3 STL, 0-7 FG, 0-6 3FG, 0-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 11 +/-

Drew a charge when Terrence Ross kicked him in the berries, and it’s sad that getting kicked in the nuts is the best thing that Lowry did in the first half. He missed all 4 of his first half attempts and got blown by too many times on defence. Despite the first half struggles Lowry was still a team best -1.

Lowry came out in the second half with noticeably higher energy, pressuring Augustine and getting up in his body on defence. If his shot was falling this would have been a classic Lowry performance, but the touch wasn’t there. But the Raptors need more from Lowry. He simply can’t go scoreless.

But Lowry was still a +11. The team got destroyed in the minutes he sat and functioned well when he played.

D. Green33 MIN, 13 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 4-9 FG, 3-7 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -8 +/-

He ain’t shy. He missed his first few attempts just like every Raptor not named Kawhi or Fred, but got some momentum midway through the second starting with a 3 from straight away. A 17 point second quarter defecit was slowly cut into as the Raptors closed on an 8 point run, capped by a Danny Green 3 at the buzzer.

Chauncey Billups called him Mr. Dependable after a triple in the third, which is high praise but still seems to fall short. Danny just settles the team down and when he is splashing buckets the Raptors feel unstoppable.

With 1:45 left Danny committed a lazy turnover that put the Magic up by 3. It was a turning point at the tail end of the game and it hurt.

F. VanVleet27 MIN, 14 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 3-6 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -20 +/-

Came out gunning, including a bomb 4-5 feet behind the top of the three point arc with two minutes left in the first quarter, but some lazy decision making (turnovers or path around screens on defence) also help lead to some easy Magic buckets. He tried hard but was torched on defence.

The Raptors need to get Fred working off-ball more rather than initiating the offence.

S. Ibaka19 MIN, 5 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-6 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -3 +/-

Bit of a no show from Serge. The touches on offence were limited, but save for a stretch at the end of the third his effort on the glass was also missing. The biggest issue though was his screen setting. Ibaka has never been great at catching solid contact to open up space for his guards, but against a team of long defenders like Orlando this becomes even more important.

Ibaka did do a good job of battling Vooch in minutes where Gasol sat, which was good to see.

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

The Raptors need more from Norm. With the absences of McCaw and OG the wing depth is limited and he can’t get outplayed by Jodie Meeks. The good news is that Norm did an excellent job with help rebounding, coming into grab a few on the weak side following boxouts from the Raptors bigs

J. Meeks3 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

With no McCaw (still a week away based on initial timeline) and no OG the Raptors need one more towards a 9-man rotation. Tonight it was Meeks who got the first call. He’s far from a complete player but he can be an offensive weapon and means less Jeremy Lin.

He won’t get real run unless the game is in hand, but not a bad option if the Raptors need 3 minutes from someone.

Nick Nurse

Toronto was cold from deep for much of the game, but the offence was creating plenty of good looks. And on defence the plan seemed to be to force the Magic guards to beat them (which they too often did) while trying to eliminate Vucevic.

The Raptors went into the second half down 8 but came out with a new intensity after the break. Forced turnovers, created easier looks off cuts and screens, and locked down defensively to help shift the game back in their directly. Nurse spoke about the Raptors trying to do too much in the first half (according to the ESPN broadcast) and about the need to settle down and make the simple play.

Sadly the energy came and went and Nurse couldn’t come up with a solution for Augustine.

Plus, he had a fire suit. He’s not quite Stack level (who is though?), but he brought his A-game for the playoff opener. The liner of his suit also included the names of every team Nurse has coached in his career, and if you’re keeping score at home the list is long.

Things We Saw

  1. A wide variety of past Raptors were present to support the team, but the most exciting one may have been seeing Jonas Valanciunas courtside. The team traded him just a few months ago and he still came back to support his guys. Raptors got to win it all and give Jonas his ring when the Grizzlies visit next year.
  2. DJ Augustine hit some stupid shots. I honestly don’t understand in the least. This dude couldn’t even make the 2013-14 Raptors. Six years later and he’s hitting game winners against us in the playoffs. Great performance from him.
  3. I once said that Terrence Ross was the most frustrating Raptor I had experienced. It’s even worse playing against him in the playoffs as you know anything could fall or nothing could go.
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