Danny Green scores seven three-pointers as Raptors beat Orlando
Just minutes after one of Danny Green’s best performances of the season, he was rushed off to the nearest medical center in order for doctors to inspect the damage of his thumb injury.
He sustained the injury in the first quarter of the 121-109 win over Orlando. The result meant that the Raptors have clinched the Atlantic Division for the fifth time in six years. Green himself was the star of the show, as he had seven three-pointers, while also recorded a season-best 29 points.
Coach Nick Nurse didn’t appear too concerned when interviewed after the game. As he said: “He got it taped up a little bit at half time.” Before saying “it did not” when asked if it affected his game.
The seven threes that Green recorded was one shy of his overall career best; which he recorded in January’s win over Memphis.
Meanwhile, Serge Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard had 30 points between them. While Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry recorded 13 and 12 points respectively. Fred Van Fleet also scored 10 points for the Raptors as they increased their winning streak to four on the bounce.
Orlando’s highest scorer was Evan Fournier; who recorded 21 points. Meanwhile, there were eleven points for Khem Birch.
It wasn’t a quick start for the Raptors, as they didn’t find their feet until the second quarter. Raptors seemed to effortlessly turn-around an 11-point disadvantage to build up a ten point lead by the end of the second quarter. The Magic were looking for a third win of the season over the Raptors, but that never looked likely once Toronto got their noses ahead.
Leonard was keen to point to the positives. He said: “They were shooting a high percentage in that first quarter. It then turned the other way, and they started missing shots.
“It’s good for us with five games left (in the regular season). There’s good value in playing a competitive team at the end that is fighting for a playoff position. That can only help us.”
The third quarter was when Green came alive, as he found three-threes and eleven points. Meanwhile, Van Vleet netted a three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining. At this point, the game was almost done; with Raptors ahead by 24 points.
None of the players that started the game began the fourth-quarter. Giving the Magic a chance to build momentum in the final minutes, but eight points was the closest they would get to catching Toronto.
The confidence was high for the Magic, as they game the night just one spot off the play-off spots. This fixture was the first of four that the Raptors were playing against teams focusing on their post-season activities. But the win over Magic could be more significant in a few weeks; as the Raptors could face Orlando in the opening round of the playoffs.
Nurse was happy to come up against a side that presented play-off quality. Speaking to ESPN after the game, he said: “I’m glad this team’s in town because they’re gonna play their butts off,” Nurse said before tip-off. “I’m not so sure we’ve had a team play their backsides off here in a few games. It’s been just a little bit too easy.
“Not taking away anything from anybody. But we’ve been pretty comfortable here, and I wouldn’t mind maybe a little bit more stress. I don’t know why.”
Toronto visits Brooklyn next, before facing Charlotte and Miami Heat over the weekend.