Posted on April 24, 2019, by Travis Pulver
With a 3-1 lead in their first-round series with the Orlando Magic, there really wasn’t any pressure on the Toronto Raptor heading into Game Five Tuesday night. They could end the series, or they could slack off and let the Magic live to fight (and die) another day.
As it turns out, the Raptors had no interest in letting the Magic stick around and longer than necessary.
Toronto started the game off on the right foot with a 12-1 run to start the game. After Aaron Gordon hit Orlando’s first basket of the game, Toronto went on a 10-0 run. The Raptors led by as much as 24 during the first, but Orlando was able to close the gap to 16 points, 35-19, going into the second.
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The second quarter was a lot more competitive, but the Raptors were able to extend their lead to 20 points, 67-47, going into halftime.
As the second half got underway, it quickly became clear that the Raptors were not going to let up. They refused to let the Magic take too much of a bite out of the lead and eventually went on a 14-0 to extend it to 30 points, 88-58, with 4:03 left to play.
Heading into the fourth, the Raptors were in total control of the game with a 29-point lead, 99-70. They pushed the lead out to 37-points about midway through the quarter before finally letting off the gas. But Orlando was able to narrow the gap to 19-points in the end, 115-96
Kyle Lowry talked about what the Raptors did after losing Game One that helped them win the next four, via ESPN:
“We kind of figured it out and made a good adjustment after Game 1. We were a little bit too soft in coverages and we figured it out really quickly, what we wanted to do, how we needed to help each other and how we needed to play.
“To figure it out that quick is a really good thing for us. We’ve just got to continue to build off it.”
Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Raptors with 27 points followed by Pascal Siakam with 24. Kyle Lowry had 14 points and Serge Ibaka chipped in ten off the bench.
However, while the Raptors had a good game on the offensive side of the court, they were even better on the defensive side. They held the Magic to 38.6 percent shooting from the floor and to 26.5 percent from three-point range (9-34).
Orlando had five players score in double figures. But their leading scorer, D.J. Augustin, only had 15 points.
Toronto’s win coupled with the 76ers taking care of the Brooklyn Nets sets up a potentially epic confrontation in the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the two. Both have been considered among the league’s best teams this year and should give fans an incredibly entertaining series to watch.
Game One is expected to be Saturday night in Toronto. The Raptors have opened as a 5.5-point favorite to win the game and are favored to win the series as well (Raptors -230; 76ers +200).