Raptors 98 Magic 93
ORLANDO, Fla. — Pascal Siakam had 30 points and 11 rebounds and the Toronto Raptors edged the Orlando Magic 98-93 on Friday, taking a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round playoff series.
Kawhi Leonard had 16 points and 10 boards, while Danny Green chipped in with 13 points and Kyle Lowry had 12 points to go with 10 assists for the Raptors, who snapped Orlando’s nine-game win streak at Amway Center.
Former Raptor Terrence Ross had 24 points, while Nikola Vucevic added 22 for the Magic, who hadn’t lost at home since Feb. 22.
“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 where they left off, particularly on the defensive end, the Raptors raced out to an early 11-point lead in front of an arena that was a sea of blue and white.
The Magic clawed their way back, catching a break when Marc Gasol picked up two quick fouls early in the second half to make it four, and had to sit.
“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, who’d been rendered a non-factor by Gasol through the series’ first two games, drained a three-pointer to give Orlando its first lead since early in the game with 6:58 to play in the third. But the Raptors responded with an 18-2 run — Siakam scoring nine of the points — and closed 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.
Lowry hit a three-pointer with 7:48 to play that gave Toronto a 17-point lead, but Ross followed up his three-pointer with a finger roll to cap a 21-10 Magic run that pulled Orlando to within four points with 1:55 to play.
A Ross three cut the difference to three, but a pair of free throws by Leonard with 12.9 seconds clinched the victory for Toronto.
Orlando had upset the Raptors to win Game 1, 104-101.
Leonard had an off-night offensively. Coming off his brilliant 37-point performance in Game 2, the Magic 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 3-for-11 shooting.
Toronto coach Nick Nurse said after the game that Leonard hadn’t practised the last couple of days and hadn’t been feeling well.
The Raptors dominated the first quarter, forcing seven Orlando turnovers, and Leonard’s dunk late in the frame had Toronto up 20-9. The Magic replied with a 12-4 run to pull within four points. The Raptors led 26-21 to start the second.
Orlando continued to chip away at Toronto’s lead in the second, and pulled to within a point when Ross hit a three about five minutes before halftime. Then Ross threw up a shot from halfcourt at the buzzer. The crowd roared, and the Raptors went into the break with a narrow 48-45 lead.
Game 4 goes Sunday in Orlando. The series goes back to Toronto for Game 5 on Tuesday. Game 6, if necessary, would be Thursday at Amway Center.