It should've been an easy game, and walk in the park, a stroll in the shopping aisle. However while it wasn't that, the Toronto Raptors did manage to hold on tight as they defeated the Orlando Magic 98-93 behind DeMar DeRozan's 28 points and Jonas Valancuinas' 20.
While DeRozan and Valancuinas had big scoring nights, this game was all on the Magic as one missed opportunity may have sealed the deal for the ball club.
Starting on the right note, Valancuinas left his mark early in the game as he shot 3-of-5 from the field, finishing with 10 points, guarded up against Montenegrin big, Nikola Vucevic. He also made all his four free throws in the first quarter. Nik however was able to squeeze his way past Big Val as he had 10 points, shooting 5-of-6 from the field.
After the first, Toronto was shooting 52.6 percent from the field, and 100 percent from the free throw line as DeRozan made his free throws as well. The Magic however were shooting a slightly better 61.1 percent, making 11-of-18 shots. Toronto managed to close this quarter on a 9-to-2 run.
The second quarter was where everything went bad for the Magic. The Raptors opened with a emphatic 17-to-2 run -- including a ferocious highlight slam by Landry Fields -- leading by as much as 19 points. Orlando finished with only 16 points on 27 percent shooting while Nik was the only one holding it together as he had eight points.
Game over right?
Not so much.
Coming back after a horrible offensive start, Orlando's Tobias Harris helped cut a 21-point deficit all the way down to 73-76 on driving layup, as the Raptors started getting sloppy on defensive end.
With 9:53 minutes left on the clock in the final quarter of play, Victor Oladipo triggered the easy layup, and he scored on a layup of his own a few possessions later resulting in a 78 tie. From there, the Magic could have taken the lead, however multiple missed three pointers gave the Raptors some room to breathe in what was a sloppy final stanza.
DeRozan came back in the clutch nailing a three pointer, responding to a Harris bucket, but neither team could seize the advantage, giving the ball back time and time again. Toronto had 10 turnovers in the quarter alone, while Orlando had 13.
With the game sitting at 96-90 in favour of the Dinos with under a minute to play and the shot clock winding down, Aaron Affalo hit a huge three pointer cutting Toronto's lead to only three points and yet again it looked like Toronto was letting a very winnable game, get away.
With seconds to left to spare and just a one-possession game, the Magic had a chance to possibly force overtime as Kyle Lowry missed a running layup and the Magic called for a timeout for one last chance.
With the ball in his hands, Maurice Harkless scrambled to find an open player, however he failed to inbound the ball for the Magic within five seconds, causing a turnover and a missed chance to tie the game. Harkless tried to call a timeout but that didn't pass for referee Kevin Scott.
With just 9.6 seconds to go, DeRozan was fouled as he made his free throws sealing the deal.
The Raptors ended up sweeping the season series 3-0, and gained their seventh straight win against the Orlando Magic.
For this week, the Raptors are going to have some tough games as they take on the Miami Heat on Monday night, the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and the Indiana Pacers on Friday. As for the Magic, they'll take on Cavaliers Wednesday, Charlotte Friday and Timberwolves on Saturday.
Extra Game Notes:
- The Toronto Raptors have now clinched their first winning series in seven years.
- DeMar DeRozan shot more free throws with 16 than the entire Magic team that had 14.
- Nikola Vucevic had his 36th career double double.
- Greivis Vasquez took a shot under his left eye that required five stitches.
- Orlando currently leads the all-time season series 34-33.
- Patrick Patterson missed his 13th straight game with the team.
- Nando De Colo had two field goals in the seven minutes he played!
- Kyle Lowry was relatively quiet for the game. He had 10 uncontested field goal attempts, shooting 33.3 percent from the field and finished with only 16 points. He was unselfish taking the side role in this game as according to data collected by SportsVU, he had 96 touches and 59 passes.
- In the three games they played against Orlando this season, Toronto has turned the ball over 17.7 percent of the time, possessing a turnover ratio of 18.8, the most vs. all opponents in the league.