Toronto Raptors hammer Orlando Magic to progress in Game Five
That’s job one done for the Toronto Raptors. Now their attention must switch to the upcoming semi-final match-up with the Sixers.
Kyle Lowry ensured that the Raptors got going with the team’s opening nine points. Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard finished with 27 points, as the Raptors throttled Orlando 115-96 on Tuesday, which means that they were able to dispatch the Magic in record time.
The result means that the Raptors have now won a playoff series in five games for the first time in their franchise history. However, the prevailing mood in the post-game locker-room was: first box ticked.
“It’s one step closer to our goal,” Fred VanVleet said. “It’s just the first step of the journey. Obviously, to get where we want to go you’ve got to keep winning and keep advancing.”
The Raptors will face Philadelphia next. The Sixers clobbered Brooklyn 122-100 later on Tuesday evening to win that series 4-1.
Meanwhile, Pascal Siakam recorded 24 points for Toronto. Who led by as many as 37 points in the closing minutes.
Also, Lowry concluded with nine assists and 14 points. Norman Powell chipped in with 11 points, while Serge Ibaka finished with 10 points.
Meanwhile, D.J. Augustin led Orlando with 15 points.
Lowry and the Raptors had no interest in flying to Orlando for a Game Six. Back home after a pair of victories at the Magic’s Amway Center court, the five-time all-star spearheaded a near-perfect start.
“It’s just about winning the game,” said Lowry. “Helping the team, doing whatever we need to do to win and play hard. But it was about our team tonight. We did a great job, just everyone playing, getting better, and tonight was a good example of it.”
Orlando were spectators as Toronto amassed a 24-point lead in the opening quarter. The team’s 19 assists on 23 made field goals in the first half was a post-season franchise record.
“I think (Lowry) is looking around and saying this is the best team he’s played on, this is the best chance they’ve had,” said Magic coach Steve Clifford. “And he’s always been a winning player anyway, but I think he now knows this is his best chance so far, and he’s playing at a high level.”
Orlando were making their first post-season appearance in seven years. However, they missed their first 11 three-point attempts. Before Evan Fournier finally connected with more than four minutes remaining in the second quarter.
The Raptors were keen to put its stamp on the game on the defensive end, said coach Nick Nurse.
“We were serious. We knew how hard we had to play against this team and got off to a fantastic start,” Nurse said.
Toronto’s offence was buzzing as well. VanVleet and Lowry combined for 19 assists on Tuesday, as the Raptors had 34 assists to Orlando’s 20.
The coach also had kind words for his starting point guard after the win.
“(Lowry) was amazing in this series,” the coach said. “He was blocking out, taking charges, pushing the ball, getting into the paint, stroked just enough threes. He was, I dunno, maybe as good as I’ve ever seen him in this series.”
With big dreams of reaching the NBA Finals, the Raptors now have a few days of breathing room until the Eastern Conference semifinals begin this weekend. And with a roster rife with injury problems, plus Leonard’s load management in the regular-season, they could use the extra days for tougher tests to come.