Tuesday night the Raptors had the chance to do something they’d never previously done in franchise history, to leave a series the victors without the stress of a drawn-out series, and finish off a playoff opponent in short order, then get a few days rest prior to beginning the second round. They got to work in short order taking care of that in this game, running out to a 31-7 lead in the first quarter and never really looking back.
This game was really a story of the Raptors’ talent just taking over, and Orlando didn’t have any answers. Kawhi Leonard had an efficient 27 points on 11 shots, Pascal Siakam had 24 points as well, and Kyle Lowry delivered a masterful performance, albeit with a limited stat line. At the defensive end, the Raptors held the Magic to just 38.6% shooting from the field, and 26.5% from three-point range, and the Magic looked the part of a team defeated.
The most notable thing in this game was probably which side of the scoreboard the Raptors were on, because in franchise history they’ve never won a series like this before, never put an opponent painlessly, and every time a series has ended this comfortably they’ve been the ones headed home. This is a big sign of how different this year’s team is, that they have the capability and force of will to just run through a team, and it bodes well for the Raptors going forward. There aren’t a lot of talking points to pull out of this game by itself, because the story of this game has been told previously in the series, a series the Raptors have thoroughly dominated aside from the narrow defeat in game one.
In fact, the 115-96 score makes the game seem far closer than it actually was, with the Magic scoring the last 18 points in garbage time to make the score look more respectable, but that was after the game was long decided. The Raptors starters had another game where they were just too much for Orlando defensively, and found ways to get their own offensively, and made a talented Orlando team that had an impressive run to close the season struggle.
With Philadelphia also taking care of their series against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, they’ll come to Toronto as the second round opponent, with that series likely opening this weekend. The Sixers were a better team this season, and certainly bring more starpower than the Magic did to the table, but there’s a lot of reasons for confidence from Raptors fans after a series like this, and some rest will do the Raptors good, although no one really had to exert themselves too much in this victory to seal the series.