Magic Fall to Raptors on Night Fred VanVleet Scores 54

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

Nearly every Toronto Raptors player was kept in check on Tuesday night. The one obvious exemption to that was Fred VanVleet, who scored a career-high 54 points and drilled 11 3-pointers, the most ever made at Amway Center, in Toronto’s 123-108 victory over the Orlando Magic. Prior to VanVleet’s record-setting feat, Stephen Curry and James Harden had each made the most threes at Amway Center with 10 apiece. It was the fifth 50-plus-point performance in the building.

Key Stretch

After a Cole Anthony one-handed putback slam put the Magic up three with 6:38 left in the third quarter, the Raptors went on a 21-3 run to seize control of the game. VanVleet hit two of his triples during that span in addition to a pair of driving layups. The lone Magic field goal was a Dwayne Bacon 3-pointer.

Rookie Watch

Chuma Okeke made his return following a 16-game absence due to a bone bruise in his left knee and was productive in his 18 minutes of action. The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. With Aaron Gordon nursing a severely sprained left ankle, the Magic are going to need Okeke to contribute consistently. Orlando’s other rookie, Anthony, also had a solid night with 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists.

Top Performer

VanVleet now holds the record for most points scored by an undrafted player and the most in Raptors history. Second on that franchise list is DeMar DeRozan, who had 52 on Jan. 1, 2018. Both Vince Carter and Terrence Ross each had 51-point eruptions while with Toronto. VanVleet, who played a big role during Toronto’s title run in 2019, made 17 of his 23 field goal attempts and 11 of his 14 tries from beyond the arc. The NBA record for most threes made in a game is 14, Klay Thompson’s total on Oct. 29, 2018 against the Bulls.

Player Spotlight

It’s going to be hard for the Magic to keep up with their opponents if Ross, who was held to another quiet night on Tuesday with three points, isn’t hitting his shots. He made just one of his eight attempts from the floor against his former team and has been held to under 50 percent shooting in 11 of his last 14 games. Ross was one of the Magic’s top contributors during the team’s 6-2 start to the season.

Injury Report

The Magic received upsetting news on Monday when they learned Gordon would be out a while with a high grade left ankle sprain. The injury occurred with 1:14 left in the third quarter of Sunday’s game in Tampa while bringing the ball up court. He joined Al-Farouq Aminu (right knee rehabilitation), Michael Carter-Williams (sprained left foot), Markelle Fultz (torn ACL, left knee), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) on Orlando’s injury list.

Quote of the Night

“It always feels good to play the sport that I love and that I’ve been playing for so long. I just felt comfortable out there…First, I just want to make everybody around me better. Getting better each game and just bring effort and energy on the defensive end, offensive end, however I can as a teammate.” – Okeke

Up Next

Before heading out on a four-game West Coast road trip, the Magic will play back-to-back games at home against the Bulls. The first of the two meetings will take place on Friday at 7 p.m. Chicago snapped a three-game losing skid on Monday with a victory over the New York Knicks. Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls with 30 points, while Zach LaVine scored 21 and Coby White had 13.

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