To give some frame of reference as to the general mood in Scotiabank Arena tonight, Raptors coach Nick Nurse was asked pre-game about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Those are the kinds of questions you get in this city when the basketball team is up 3-1. (Actually, those questions would probably come regardless; the Leafs are in yet another Game 7 with Boston, after all.)
My point here is that the Raptors — and their fans — have cause to be feeling good, and to be thinking about other things. Despite an inexplicable loss in Game 1, Toronto has looked every bit the super strong team with NBA Finals aspirations they were supposed to be heading into these playoffs. They’ve visibly ramped up their defense, found another gear on offense, and while the Orlando Magic aren’t exactly top flight competition, they’re still doing everything they can to disrupt what the Raptors want to do.
Except none of it has worked. Unlike Raptors teams of the past, this squad has not buckled under the pressure or caved in any meaningful way. Again, part of this is because the Magic are just not that good, but the other part is because of how well the Raptors have adjusted and executed their game plans so as to snuff out anything Orlando even thinks about trying. It’s been wonderful to watch.
And not to get too up on my high horse here, but a Raptors victory tonight feels like a done deal. How do I know this? Magic coach Steve Clifford was already asked to offer some statements of summary on his season. That’s another question that provides some sense of the mood here. We just need to get these 48 minutes over with.
Oh, and I think the Leafs will win too. Now, let’s watch.
Here are the updated game details and the full Game 5 preview from Jacob Mack.
Where to Watch:
TSN, NBA TV, 7:00pm EST
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Orlando – D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic
Toronto – OG Anunoby (abdomen – OUT), Chris Boucher (back – day-to-day)
Orlando – Mohamed Bamba (leg – OUT), Markelle Fultz (shoulder – OUT), Timofey Mozgov (knee – OUT)