Toronto got off to a hot start this regular season, opening up with a 4-0 record after three road games against the Thunder, Mavericks and Celtics. Their early winning streak was ended by a feisty Orlando team; it's the kind of loss that's tough to forget. The Magic remain feisty, but this time Toronto came out with the 106-103 OT win thanks to a solid all-around team effort, with six players scoring in double figures.
The Raptors arguably should have put this game to bed much sooner, as they let numerous double digit leads slip, allowing the (feisty) Magic to rally behind Victor Oladipo's 27 points. Eventually, strong play in overtime from Kyle Lowry, and some clutch free throw shooting from the Raptors ensured the win.
Toronto came out hot, scoring 61 points in the first half. However, the Magic defense picked up in the second half and so did the Raptors' turnovers. In the third, fourth and overtime period the Raptors were held to a combined 45 points. Despite not having a good shooting night (5-of-20 from the field), Lowry led the Raptors with 24 points (to go with 8 rebounds and 7 assists), managing to get to the line at will finishing 12-of-14 from the stripe. Luis Scola continued to be an effective release valve for the Raptors offense, punishing Orlando whenever they doubled up on Lowry or DeRozan, he only finished with 11 points, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, and numbed the Magic's attempt at a comeback.
The Raptors looked flustered in the last minutes of the game by Orlando's defense. They struggled to get good shots but did get a number of extra possessions crashing the boards, with Jonas Valancuinas and Lowry both getting key rebounds. The Raptors went scoreless for the last minute, Oladipo had a chance to win it for Orlando with a pull up 20 footer over Cory Joseph, but it just rimmed out. The Raptors didn't play especially well in overtime, but managed to get Orlando in team foul trouble early forcing the Magic to be less aggressive in their defense.
After the game Casey said "We did not play well, that's probably one of the worst games we've played in the last couple of weeks, execution wise and on both ends of the floor." However, he was happy with grinding out the result despite the poor showing.
- Valanciunas needs to continue to work on his toughness inside, a couple of times he let Oladipo finish at the rim despite being in positions to challenge the shots.
- Cory Joseph was the X factor tonight with 19 points (on 9-of-11 shooting). He really brought energy to the second unit in the first half and triggered the Raptors large run.
- Terrence Ross just looks a little lethargic on the floor, when you compare him to DeRozan and Lowry running off screens you can see the difference in the pace and purpose they move with. Ross found his handle lacking after navigating the first screen, he looked uncomfortable handling the ball in traffic.
Fan Moment of the Night
I managed to get an interview at half time with a couple of Toronto natives who were studying over in London. It was safe to say they were a few of the loudest in the arena, showing the UK fans how an NBA team should be supported
And thus ends the NBA London experience for 2016, with a Raptors win.
What did you guys think of the game?