Siakam scores 30 in Raptors win
Pascal Siakam scored 30 points and added 11 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors edged past the Orlando Magic 98-93 on Friday evening. Meaning they have taken a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round playoff series.
Kawhi Leonard recorded 16 points and ten boards. Meanwhile Danny Green scored 13 points, and Kyle Lowry had 12 points to go with ten assists for Toronto. Who have now snapped Orlando’s nine-game win streak at the Amway Center.
Meanwhile, former Raptors player Terrence Ross had 24 points, and Nikola Vucevic added 22 for Orlando. The Magic hadn’t lost at home since Feb. 22 prior to last night.
“I think it showed some toughness for us. I really thought this was going to be a tough atmosphere to play in,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse.
Picking up from where they left off, particularly on the defensive end, Toronto raced out to an early 11-point lead in front of an arena that was a sea of white and blue.
Orlando clawed their way back and caught a break when Marc Gasol picked up two early quickfire fouls in the second half to make it four and had to sit out of the game.
“I liked the way we came out. We’ve got to impose our will in this game,” said Nurse. “And then I liked us, how we answered.”
Vucevic had been rendered a non-factor by Gasol through the series so far. However, he drained a three-pointer to give the Magic their first lead since early in the game with just under seven minutes to play in the third period.
However, the Raptors responded emphatically with an 18-2 run. With Siakam scoring nine of the points in this run. Before closing the quarter with a 21-6 run to take a 76-65 advantage into the final 12 minutes.
Lowry, in a humorous moment late in the third quarter, raced onto the court during a time-out to vigorously rub Serge Ibaka’s knee when the big man went down hard.
Meanwhile, Lowry himself hit a three-pointer with 7:48 remaining that gave the Raptors a 17-point lead. However, Ross followed up his three-pointer with a finger roll to cap a 21-10 Orlando run that pulled the Magic within four points with just under two minutes remaining.
A Ross three cut the difference to three. However, a pair of free throws by Leonard with 13 seconds to go clinched a massive victory for the Raptors.
Leonard had an off-night offensively. Coming off his brilliant 37-point performance in Game Two. Orlando started Jonathan Isaac on Toronto’s star, and the energetic 21-year-old didn’t give Leonard anything easy. Holding him to eight first-half points on three-for-eleven shooting.
The Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after the game that Leonard hadn’t practised over the last couple of days and was feeling unwell.
Game Four comes from Orlando on Sunday. Before the series heads back to Toronto for Game Five on Tuesday and Game Six, if necessary, would be on Thursday at Amway Center.