Game Rap: Raptors 109, Magic 79
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Frank Vogel emptied his bench with 6:48 remaining and the Raptors ahead by 29 points. After trailing 30-23 at the end of the opening quarter, Toronto outscored Orlando 86-49 the rest of the way through to collect a dominating 109-79 road win.
Shortly before tip off the team announced that Cory Joseph would not be in the lineup because of flu-like symptoms. Joseph’s minutes backing up Kyle Lowry went to rookie Fred VanVleet who performed well in 23 minutes, scoring four points to go with four assists, two rebounds and three steals.
ANOTHER SLOW START
The Raptors fell into the same trap of opening the game without a defensive presence in Orlando. Despite coming off a 125-121 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Raptors came out lethargic on the defensive end of the floor and the Magic took advantage. Orlando shot 57 percent in the quarter as they took a 30-23 lead after one.
GETTING FIRED UP
The Raptors stepped up their energy levels to open the second quarter with Jonas Valanciunas working the glass and leading the team in scoring with 10 points. Lowry, fired up after being on the receiving end of a flagrant foul from Jodie Meeks, got his team to follow his lead, and the Raptors went from 11 down in the quarter to ahead by four at the halftime break. DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 20 points in the half.
After giving up 30 points in the opening quarter and 21 points in the second, Toronto locked in on the Magic in the third, allowing just 13 points while scoring 29 to extend their four-point halftime lead to 20 heading into the fourth.
CLOSING IT OUT
Toronto opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to extend the lead to 27 and all but end the game. Lowry excited shortly after, DeRozan never played in the fourth and the starters — save for rookie Pascal Siakam — were out entirely with 4:15 remaining. With both teams playing their reserves, the Raptors still managed to hold the lead and closed out the game with a 30-point victory as they held the Magic to just 28 points in the second half.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 31 points in 30 minutes of action. He scored 20 of his 31 in the first half, and he shot 13-for-21 from the floor. DeRozan added five rebounds, four assists and a steal. Kyle Lowry played 35 minutes and scored 16 points to go with 10 assists, three rebounds and a steal. He shot 3-for-9 from the floor and 8-for-8 from the free throw line. The Raptors were a +24 when Lowry was on the floor.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Jonas Valanciunas bounced back from a quiet game against the Hawks to post a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double in 30 minutes of action. Valanciunas shot 8-for-15 from the floor and added a blocked shot. He led the team in scoring in the second quarter where he played all 12 minutes and scored 10 points as the Raptors made their comeback from 11 down.
THAT'S A RAP…
“I thought there was a good bounce back for us after our lacklustre defensive game against Atlanta. That’s the way we have to play. If we want to be important or relevant in this league we have to play with that defensive intensity every night.”
- Dwane Casey on his team turning up the defence after the opening quarter
BY THE #’S
41…Percent shooting for the Magic, quite a feat for the Raptors defence after allowing Orlando to shoot 57 percent in the opening quarter.
47…Rebounds for Toronto, 42 rebounds for Orlando.
52…Points in the paint scored by the Raptors, 40 for the Magic.
11…Turnovers by Toronto leading to seven points for the Magic. In comparison, Orlando turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 28 points scored by the Raptors.
12…Rebounds, eight points, an assist, a steal and three blocked shots recorded by former Raptor Bismack Biyombo.
THEY SAID IT…
“Human nature is amazing. [Evan] Fournier is playing well. We held this team to 28 points in the second half. They locked in. Guys were locked in, everybody did their job on each possession. We talked about it this morning. We showed everyone, from Kyle Lowry to everyone who played the other night [against the Atlanta Hawks] their bad clips. We’ve got to play that way. We start believing the No. 1 offensive ranking hype and believing in the jump shot and think that’s going to carry us, it will, you’ve got to score in this league, but you’ve got to defend your butt off on the other end and that’s where we’ve got to play if you want to be relevant, if you want to be a championship team.”
- Dwane Casey on the importance of defending each night
“We just got more aggressive. We forced them to take tougher shots. We had great contests that led to missed shots and us getting out in transition and being able to play. Anytime we get stops we can get out there and score with the best of them. It’s just us putting together consecutive stops.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the difference in defence after the first quarter
“Unbelievable. He’s been going down to the D-League and taking assignments well, playing well. He translated that to the floor tonight. It was a great pleasure for me personally to see him go out there and play the way he did tonight.”
- Kyle Lowry on the play of Fred VanVleet stepping in with Cory Joseph out
The Raptors return to Toronto to take on the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday a 7:30 P.M.