Game Rap: Raptors 113, Magic 114
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Nikola Vucevic hit a pair of free throws to put the Magic ahead 114-110 with 3.6 seconds remaining. Although Kyle Lowry hit a three-pointer with 0.5 on the clock, the Magic escaped Toronto with a 114-113 victory over the Raptors.
DeMar DeRozan returned to the floor after missing the previous three games with a sprained ankle. DeRozan sprained the ankle after coming down awkwardly while attempting a shot in Toronto’s loss to the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 22. In his return, DeRozan started alongside Kyle Lowry, DeMarre Carroll, Patrick Patterson and Jonas Valanciunas.
HIGH-SCORING FIRST HALF
The Raptors didn’t have a lot of success slowing the Magic in the first quarter, but it was alright because Orlando wasn’t able to slow Toronto either. Orlando shot 54 percent in the first quarter to Toronto’s 64 percent. The Raptors used a solid close to the quarter to take a 36-27 lead after the opening 12 minutes. Things flipped in the second when Toronto’s offence stalled. The Magic shot 65 percent in the quarter, outscoring the Raptors 33-15 as Toronto connected on just 31 percent of their field goals. Thanks to their dominant second quarter as well as a 19-point half from Nikola Vucevic, the Magic took a 60-51 lead into the halftime break.
CLOSING THE GAP
Despite a rough-shooting performance in the third, Toronto outscored Orlando 27-22 in the quarter to trim the deficit to four points heading into the fourth. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 11 in the third while Kyle Lowry added eight points. With Orlando leading by 10, the Raptors closed the quarter on a 12-6 run. Toronto didn’t have any early answers for the Magic through much of the fourth as Orlando continued to build on its lead, going ahead by as many as 15 points midway through the quarter. A late flurry from the Raptors and a three-pointer from Lowry got Toronto within two with 5.2 seconds remaining, but free throws from Vucevic widened the gap to a two-possession game with 3.6 on the clock. Lowry connected on another three-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining, but the Raptors ran out of time and ended up falling to the Magic by one.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kyle Lowry led the Raptors in scoring with a 33-point performance in 39 minutes. He shot 9-for-18 from the floor, 6-for-9 from three and 9-for-12 from the free throw line. Lowry added five rebounds, eight assists and a steal and the Raptors were a +10 when he was on the floor.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan played 36 minutes in his first game back after missing the previous three with an ankle sprain. He scored 22 points on 6-for-18 shooting, including 10-for-11 from the free throw line. DeRozan added seven rebounds and six assists. Terrence Ross led the Raptors bench in scoring with 17 points in 29 minutes. Ross shot 6-for-10 from the floor, including 4-for-7 from the free throw line, while adding a rebound, assist and three steals. The Raptors were a team-best +15 when Ross was on the floor.
THAT'S A RAP…
“We have to find five men that are going to go out there and defend. You can go right down the roster and everybody had a defensive mistake. It’s accountability. We’re bringing guys off the bench and they’re making mistakes, it’s everybody and that is what I told the team. Everybody is involved, the whole group in the room, we’re all accountable for this.”
- Dwane Casey on needing to play defence more consistently
BY THE #’S
53…Percent shooting for the Magic, 46 percent shooting for the Raptors.
13…Turnovers by Toronto leading to 21 points for Orlando. In comparison, the Magic turned the ball over 12 times leading to just 11 Raptors points.
25…Assists for the Raptors, 20 assists for the Magic.
44…Points scored by Orlando’s bench, compared to 32 points scored by Toronto’s bench. The Magic reserves were led by D.J. Augustin’s 21 points on 7-for-10 field goals, with Jeff Green adding 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
THEY SAID IT…
“It just comes down to the will. We can do it. We've done it before, we've shown we can do it for long periods of time, but it just comes down to the will and the want to actually do it and do it on a consistent basis. Not every other game, not once in a blue moon, but every single day, every single time we step out on that court. We can do it. It's just each and every individual on this team wanting to do it and putting it into action.”
- Patrick Patterson on playing more consistent defence
“We can’t rely on the offence. We always have a great quarter or two quarters offensively. But we can’t rely on that to win us the games. We’ve got to rely on four quarters defensively to get us through the game, and let the offence take care of itself.”
- DeMar DeRozan on needing to focus on defence regardless of how the offence is flowing
“Yeah, in a long time. This is very challenging but as a professional and as a leader I'm going to keep my head up and I'm going to keep going out there and working. It's a small little thing that we can get through. We've got to continue to get better. At the end of the day we've still got to go out there and play games. Nobody's going to feel sorry for us. We'll be better, we have to get better if we want to continue to grow and push towards our end goal.”
- Kyle Lowry on pushing through a rough stretch
“Yes. It's always been the greatest issue with us. Being able to get stops, because at the end of the day, we can score, we know that. You get stops playing defence, finishing plays with rebounds, limiting paint touches, getting hard contest shots and just playing with great energy on that side of the ball. Offence, totally fine, we're good on that end, it just all comes down to defence, getting stops.”
- Patrick Patterson on defensive consistency being the team’s greatest issue
The New Orleans Pelicans come to Toronto to take on the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday at 7 P.M. ET.