On Sunday night, the Toronto Raptors looked to snap a 3-game losing streak against an 8-12 Orlando Magic. It was all Raptors all night, as they came away with the 115-102 win.
The last time these two teams faced each other was in the NBA Bubble. During a seeding game, Aaron Gordon suffered a strained hamstring and was forced to leave the Bubble. Gordon seemed to insinuate the injury was due to a dirty foul by Kyle Lowry. The men exchanged words and that was the end of it. Until Sunday night. In the 2nd, as the Raptors pushed the ball in transition, Gordon seemingly planted a hard shoulder into Lowry as he ran up the court. Gordon was issued a flagrant 1 and Lowry was visibly unimpressed.
Despite the antics, he had a season high 15 assists to go along with 12 points in the win. Whether Gordon’s intention was to fluster Lowry, the incident didn’t seem to affect the trajectory of the game.
Pascal Siakam had himself another strong outing. He put up 30 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. He was perfect for the line and has really seemed to find his stride. Early in the season, Siakam settled for 3’s and seemed hesitant to get in the paint. On Sunday, he lived under the basket. Of his 23 shot attempts, only 2 were from beyond the arc. After the game he commented on how important it is for him to “continue to attack.. continue to have faith”. In Sunday’s win, Siakam had his first back-to-back 30 point performance of the season.
With OG Anunoby and Norman Powell out for another night, Toronto’s bench stepped up. In his second start of the season, Terrence Davis put up 12 points in 26 minutes. DeAndre’ Bembry had his best performance with the team, scoring 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting. Yuta Watanabe continues his hustle play, blocking 3 shots, grabbing 1 steal and adding 11 points off the bench. Watanabe has been making the most of his 2-way contract with the Raptors. When asked about his time with the Memphis Grizzlies, he said he was always ready, always putting in the work and was unfortunate he didn’t have the opportunity to show what he brought to the floor.
Toronto has been a franchise known to give opportunities to guys who have shown that they can contribute. Nick Nurse told reporters that everyone has really started to buy into their roles and what is expected of them. Now there’s a sense of knowing what he can get out of the guys when he needs it.
On Sunday he wanted defence, and they delivered. The Raptors held Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier to 15 and 11 points on an abysmal 27.8% and 16.7% shooting. They lead the Magic with most points per game, with Vucevic averaging 23 and Fournier averaging 17.9. Toronto took them completely out of the game, with their defence. Orlando, who is first in the league in offensive rebounds was limited to 6 on the night. They were also outscored 32-50 in the paint.
Toronto did everything they needed to do to get the win. The Raptors won just about all the stats on Sunday. Look for the team to continue building as they begin a long stretch on the road. The team plays 8 of their next 10 games away from Tampa.
Game note: Fred VanVleet appeared to be shaken after suffering a hard hit in the open floor during the first half. Toronto will monitor the situation and see how he feels in the coming days.
Next up… Toronto is off to Orlando for a rematch with the Magic on Tuesday. Tip off is 7pm at Amway Center.