Orlando was up by eight early in the fourth quarter, but the Raptors began to dominate the glass and used an 8-0 run to pull ahead. Rebounding was crucial with the Raps up 95-93 with under three minutes to play, as they generated two extra possessions on one trip down the floor. Leandro Babrosa eventually hit a 23-foot jumper to put them up by four.
The Magic replied with a bucket and were playing for the tie following a Barbosa miss, but Ed Davis stepped up with a crucial steal. Barbosa was off again out of a timeout, but Jerryd Bayless grabbed the rebound, made two free throws after a foul and the Raptors held their slim lead from there.
As he was knocked to the ground after drilling a long jumper with five minutes to play, DeMar DeRozan sat up and let out a loud yell with a fist pump to match, punctuating a strong game from the team's go-to guy with the Raptors again missing some key personnel.
DeRozan scored a team-high eight points in the final frame -- part of an efficient 24-point performance with five rebounds, two assists (including a beauty for Ed Davis in traffic) and two steals in just under 43 minutes. The effort extends a solid three-game run for DeRozan that's seen him average 23.3 points in each of those games.
While the last two games have been an eye-opener in terms of the Raptors' youth, Sunday saw them get big contributions from two hand-holding vets. Reggie Evans hauled down 17 boards and was a huge reason why the Raptors dominated the glass 48-30 and Dwight Howard was denied a double double for the first time in 34 games.
Leandro Barbosa was equally vital with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes. The Blur was used to great effect off the pine by Jay Triano, who wanted to exploit the injury-riddled Magic's need to go bigger whenever Jameer Nelson was out.
"I think even if we go back to the game last night, it was the same situation where we forced misses and today we came up with the loose balls and rebounds instead of last night where we didn’t get the bounce. Luck of the bounce, a little bit more aggressive towards it, whatever it is I don’t know but we will take it tonight. I think we’ve played 96 minutes of very good basketball the last two nights. Our guys are playing hard, they are playing aggressive and they are sharing the basketball. I mean to have 24 assists tonight was pretty good for us."
- Jay Triano, on making plays late
Tues., Apr. 5 @ Knicks
7:30 PM ET, TSN2, FAN590
It's one last shot at the Knicks on the road and the Raptors' first look at Carmelo Anthony in a New York uniform on Tuesday. The Raptors aim to avoid a season series sweep against the Knicks, who lead the season series 3-0. New York still has plenty to fight for as they can move as high as sixth in the Eastern Conference and a drop to eighth also remains possible.
|2-1||Season series win for the Raptors, their first over the Magic since 2006-07|
|34-9||Bench scoring favouring the Raptors|
|48-30||Rebounding favouring the Raptors|
|16-28||Shooting from the field for Jerryd Bayless over his last two games|
|14-3||Advantage for the Raptors in fast break points|
|"Sometimes we play a game then the next game we may slack a little bit. Playing back-to-back games with that type of energy is definitely big for us."|
- DeMar DeRozan on the last two games
|"We never made the adjustment, we never rebounded, they outhustled us, they were quicker than us, they just totally outplayed us and they deserved to win."|
- Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy on the Raptors
|"I felt like I played like a little girl against Chicago. This game I wanted to bounce back against Dwight."|
- Reggie Evans, on his 17-rebound performance