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Five thoughts on last night: Raptors 104, Magic 95

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The Raptors threw it back to 1995, but made the Magic feel like it was April 2019 by knocking Orlando off 104 to, yes... 95

Five thoughts recap: Toronto Raptors 104, Orlando Magic 95 Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Retro court, retro jerseys, retro performance from Kyle Lowry? Yes please! Lowry, who wore Damon Stoudamire’s jersey in the championship parade last summer, channeled the original Raptor with a vintage 26-6-5 performance as the Toronto Raptors rallied late to hold off the Orlando Magic, 104-95.

A few thoughts on the first Rewind ‘95 night:

The Court and Jerseys Deserve your Fire Emojis

I didn’t think I’d like the court. I’ve never been a fan of the “reverse painted area”, where the key is unpainted but the area between the key and the three point line is. But, it worked for me in this case — the white jerseys really popped on the purple court, and the two logos used — the Raptor grasping the ball, and the Raptor clawing the “TR” — are favourites. The Raptor footsteps? Totally goofy, but I enjoy them nonetheless. Overall, the retro effect was awesome.

As for the white jerseys, I think I like them even more than the purple! Do not count me among those who they they should bring them back full-time, though. A few times a year makes it special, every night would make it lame.

The Retro Mascots are Terrifying

During one early timeout, the Raptors brought out “retro mascots” — mascots representing former players, wearing those players’ uniforms, and with disturbingly life-like bitmoji-style bigheads. It was like NBA Jam come to life, and it was horrifying. I don’t need to see MoPete, JYD and Muggsy looking like that, man. That’s the kinda thing that gives kids nightmares.

The stuff of nightmares Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

I hope this was a Halloween special and we never have to see those monsters again.

What Happened to Preseason Norm?

Remember when Norman Powell shot 120% (numbers approximate) in the preseason? What happened to that guy? Powell was 1-for-7 last night, and is now 8-for-26 from the floor on the year. He also collected one rebound, one assist and managed two turnovers in his 20 minutes last night.

Not great, Bob!

I wonder if Powell is thrown off by Fred VanVleet taking over the starting two-guard role; Norm might’ve thought that was his to lose coming into camp, and he didn’t really do anything in camp to lose it. But VanVleet is playing better basketball, and I can’t argue with Nick Nurse wanting to start his best guys.

Besides, it’s not like Norm isn’t getting opportunities; last night was his lowest minute total of the year (he was averaging 26 minutes though the first three). He’s had the chance to make an impact. But with Patrick McCaw now healthy, Powell will need to pick up his game to keep those minutes.

Return of The Master of the 2-for-1

I’ve expressed my appreciation for Kyle Lowry’s 2-for-1 mastery at the end of quarters before, but last night the full arsenal was on display at the end of the second quarter.

After a made Evan Fournier free throw with 30 seconds to go, Lowry rolled the ball downcourt without touching it, all the way past half court. Then he picked it up, broke down Markelle Fultz with the slightest hesitation dribble, and took it hard to the hole — drawing an Aaron Gordon foul for the and-1.

Fournier scored the other way, but with five seconds to go, Lowry took the inbounds in the backcourt, raced down, and scored on a reverse scoop as time expired.

Just perfect.

Also, Markelle Fultz? Read the scouting report, dude! Or at least be aware of the clock and the situation — with Lowry rolling the ball downcourt, you know what’s coming.

Imagine Explaining Electric Circus to a Teenager Today

Of all the retro things the Raptors rolled out last night, including a, er, subdued (?) Choclair, the Electric Circus throwback had to be the most... niche?

“See, it was a TV show, that aired on Friday nights, and the cameras panned around a crowd of people to dancing to house music for 90 minutes. In a converted, street front TV studio in downtown, where people could also look in through the windows.

“There were only about 30 TV channels at the time, and this was what one of them chose to air every week.

“That’s it. Just people dancing. On TV.”

It’s insane.

Still, shout-out to Monika Deol.

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The defending NBA champion Raptors are 3-1! Not a bad start to the season, even though you could say “they’re beating the teams they’re supposed to beat.” We’ll see if they can keep it up against the Pistons and the Bucks this week.