Game Rap: Raptors 94, Magic 102
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Evan Fournier made a pair of free throws to put the Magic ahead by eight with 2.6 seconds remaining. After a close first half, Toronto managed just 40 points in the second as the Magic collected a 102-94 victory, their second win against Toronto in a week. The loss was the Raptors' eighth in their previous 10 games.
Shortly before the game, the Raptors announced that DeMar DeRozan would not suit up against the Magic. DeRozan has now missed three straight games because of a sprained ankle and six of the previous seven. The rotation got even shorter when Patrick Patterson suffered a left knee contusion in the first quarter. Shortly after, the team announced that he would not return.
KEEPING IT CLOSE IN THE FIRST HALF
The Raptors gave up 28 points to the Magic in the opening quarter, allowing Orlando to shoot 50 percent. Toronto connected on 46 percent of its field goals, trailing Orlando by four after the opening 12 minutes. Jonas Valanciunas led the way offensively, scoring nine points for Toronto, while Serge Ibaka was the leading scorer for the Magic, scoring 12 points on a perfect 5-for-5 field goals. The Raptors fell into an offensive groove in the second quarter, shooting 60 percent to Orlando’s 58 percent as they outscored the Magic 30-24 to take a two-point halftime lead. Terrence Ross came off the bench to score nine points in the second quarter while reserve point guard Fred VanVleet played 12 minutes in the first half after getting his name called earlier than usual. After the high-scoring first quarter, Ibaka was limited to two points in the second. Valanciunas led Toronto with 13 points at the half, while Norman Powell had 12 points.
GOING COLD IN THE SECOND
After shooting 53 percent in the first half, the Raptors went cold in the second half. Like, ice cold. Toronto shot just 19 percent in a third quarter that saw the Raptors get outscored 21-12 as the Magic turned a two-point halftime deficit into a seven-point advantage going into the final quarter. Toronto caught a break with the Magic shooting just 38 percent in the third or their deficit would have been far worse. Much like Orlando’s victory in Toronto on Jan. 29, Nikola Vucevic led the way in the third, scoring 14 points on 7-for-10 field goals. The fourth quarter was slightly better for Toronto, but the team still shot just 32 percent to Orlando’s 42 percent and couldn’t make up any ground from that ugly third quarter. Toronto shot just 26 percent in the second half as the Magic used a balanced scoring attack to take control. Already shorthanded without DeMar DeRozan, losing Patrick Patterson in the first quarter left the Raptors scrambling to try different lineups, including a three-point-guard lineup in the fourth quarter featuring Kyle Lowry, Cory Joseph, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell and Lucas Nogueira.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jonas Valanciunas had an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double in 35 minutes. He shot 7-for-17 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the free throw line while adding an assist, steal and blocked shot.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Reserve point guard Fred VanVleet took advantage of a night when he played 23 minutes off the bench. VanVleet was called upon in the first quarter and brought energy and intensity when he was on the floor. He scored 15 points on 5-for-12 field goals, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, and 3-or-3 from the free throw line to go with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. When VanVleet was on the floor, the Raptors were a +6 in the game.
THAT'S A RAP…
“You can't score 12 points in the third quarter and beat any team in the NBA. We didn't come out with guns ablazing in the third quarter. We were flat and that’s what set the tone in the second half, the start of the third quarter, and it usually does when you don't come out and compete like that, not compete, but execute offensively.”
- Dwane Casey on the turning point in the game
BY THE #’S
39…Percent shooting for Toronto, 46 percent shooting for Orlando
17…Fast break points for the Magic compared to just eight for the Raptors.
23…Made free throws for Orlando (23-for-32), 16 for Toronto (16-for-21).
22…Assists for the Magic, 15 for the Raptors.
18…Points on 5-for-6 field goals, 7-for-7 free throws for Orlando’s C.J. Watson off the bench.
THEY SAID IT…
“I thought the ball wasn’t moving as much. Even the shots we were getting, in and outs, we weren’t hitting shots that were open for us, that we’re actually getting and accustomed to. It’s tough, you put a lot of pressure on your defence to get shots when you’re not hitting shots and taking some tough ones.”
- Norman Powell on the third quarter
“I had a meeting with Cory this morning, and talked to him about giving him a blow, just giving him a mental blow. He’s been struggling as far as his plus-minus and his play. Fred’s been playing well. I just wanted to give him an opportunity. Cory knew going in, the situation, we didn't expect Pat to go down and be another man down. I thought Fred came in and did an excellent job. There’s nothing Cory has done wrong, he’s not in the dog house, there’s no such thing as the dog house. Just be ready to play.”
- Dwane Casey on going with Fred VanVleet as the first point guard off the bench
“We’ve got to find a way to get out of this and I know we will. These are times that can make the end of the season that much sweeter and better. Try to reach the low point before you climb out of that and keep getting better for the postseason.”
- Fred VanVleet on pushing through a difficult stretch
“Everybody’s mad. Everybody’s frustrated. We’re out there trying to get a win, we’re out there working, leaving it all on the floor. The ball is not bouncing our way right now. Everybody is frustrated. We want to win. Everybody hates losing. Nobody is happy or content with losing here. We know what we can do, we know how good we are. Its frustrating when you lose a lot of close ones.”
- Norman Powell on the mood in the locker room
The Raptors finish up their three-game road trip in Brooklyn where they will take on the Nets on Sunday at 12 P.M. ET.