Another loss to Toronto and another night of Magic fans hating on Kyle Lowry! The night was made worse by an injury to Aaron Gordon.
THE OPENING QUARTER
Aaron Gordon opened the Magic scoring with a wing three. It was an ugly shooting start for Orlando and that continued throughout the game.
For Toronto Fred VanVleet scored 3 baskets and Pascal Siakam a pair as the Raptors took a 10-3 lead with 4 minutes played.
A Magic timeout saw the team respond with Nikola Vucevic hitting a 3 off of an Evan Fournier assist. This was followed on the next play by an Evan Fournier made 3 as Orlando showed life.
The teams ground out some ugly plays that saw the Raptors grow a double digit lead, 15-27 at the buzzer.
INTO THE SECOND QUARTER
Hustle was the hallmark of the Magic to start the 2nd. Gary Clark, Dwayne Bacon and Aaron Gordon all hit 3’s as the Magic cut into the advantage.
As usual the dirty play of Kyle Lowry was on view. In the first quarter he’d gotten away with stepping under a jumping Evan Fournier. During the second Lowry under the basket backed into Aaron Gordon. I believe Lowry deliberately and with force thrust his backside aggressively into Gordon, causing AG’s knee to twist. I guess perspective matters here as Raptors fans see it is a fair and clean box out. As the Raptors went down the court Gordon was unable to get back.
Having been injured by Lowry twice in 6 months AG was clearly angry. Lowry came jogging back on D, looking up the court towards the ball. Gordon saw his opportunity, stepped in and flattened Lowry with a strong body check. It was a definite cheap shot but understandable, being called correctly a flagrant 1 foul as the contact was unnecessary and there had been wind up. At the resulting free throw Kyle Lowry can be seen mouthing to Terrence Ross that he is “gonna f*** him up”.
At the half the score was 44-58 on the back of some poor Orlando shooting, particularly in the paint. The Magic had field goals standing at 15 made of 42 attempted. To put that in perspective from the 3 ball Orlando were a respectable 8 of 19.
THE THIRD QUARTER
As predicted in our preview Toronto were both fouling a lot, whilst also being very active in forcing turnovers and steals. This was telling in several ways. For Toronto points from turnovers were pivotal in building a 16 point lead. Toronto are a very physical team and the constant fouls prevented Orlando finding any offensive rhythm. For Orlando points from those free throws were allowing them to hang around. Toronto’s defence of the paint was impressive.
With a little over a minute remaining in the quarter Aaron Gordon rolled his ankle and had to leave the game with what was clearly a bad sprain.
Going into the 4th the score stood at 73-84.
INTO THE FOURTH
Orlando showed some spark of fight and life, starting well by cutting the lead to 8. However as with the rest of the game Toronto responded and made a scoring run. A turgid game to watch was ground out, with Toronto extending their lead for a comfortable win.
As the Magic suffered another loss to Toronto yet again Coach Nick Nurse had his defence play Nikola Vucevic brilliantly.
On the night Toronto performed well, reflecting some recent improvements. The Raptors had grit and fought, which saw Orlando out-assisted, out-rebounded and out-scored in the paint. In all honesty this was a contest that Orlando never looked like winning.
Cole Anthony led the Magic efforts with 16 points and 6 assists. Nikola Vucevic was able to get another double-double with a very hard earned 15 points and 14 rebounds.
THE FINAL SCORE – 102-115
MOVING ON FROM ANOTHER LOSS TO TORONTO
The teams meet again on Tuesday in Orlando as the Battle of I4 continues.
A full game review by Josh Cohen on the Orlando Magic website can be read