Raptors were left licking their wounds after Orlando Magic cast not one but two spells on the pride of Toronto.
Could it have been the home advantage? Following the very close 113 – 109 victory which Magic gathered over the Raptors, they would do it all again with 111 – 99.
It was quite burn considering the Raptors had managed to land a 121 – 108 victory over Magic back on December 4th. While Raptors holds a 14-game all-time advantage over the Magic, of which 10 of their 11 meetings were wins, it certainly dented their confidence.
The Raptors came out strong against Magic, gaining the lead from the get-go and leaving the hosts to catch up. Magic managed after 4 and a half minutes to score, trailing behind Raptors.
Eventually, Magic picked up the pace and managed to finish the First Quarter just 1 point behind the visitors (18 – 19).
Raptors were back on the offensive in the Second Quarter but something switched on in Magic and the tables started to turn as Terrence Ross scored a 3-pointer at 6:19. Mo Bamba made sure the lead stuck with 2 more 3-pointer shots which helped they take the lead at 41 – 29. They finished the quarter on 47 – 39.
The Third Quarter screeched into action and the Magic were holding with a 14 point lead (67 – 53) but then a foul committed by Fultz gave the Raptor the chance to score 4 quick points back. It was close as Trent managed to close the gap slightly and both teams finished the quarter with only 7 points separating them (82 – 75).
Wagner was Magic’s saviour. The opening Fourth and final quarter, Wagner managed 3 straight 3-pointers in the beginning to stretch the gap open again and Magic was back in spell-casting mood.
Raptors managed to reach 99 and they couldn’t go any further. Magic managed 4 more plays to see in the final seconds on 111.
‘It was a little bit of a gut punch… It just wasn’t our night tonight, which is why you have to take care of business on Friday night. We had some critical breakdowns to give them threes at the wrong parts of the game, especially late in the fourth quarter,’ Fred VanFleet said after the game.
Mo Bamba managed to rack up 18 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist for Magic while team-mate Franz Wagner scored 23 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.
On the Raptors side, it was Gary Trent who scored 24 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist while Fred VanFleet pulled in 20 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. Pascal Siakam delivered 19 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
Headed in the right direction
‘You put three games in a row — I think we’re headed in the right direction… We’re asking our guys to defend at a high level, which they did. We’re asking them to move the basketball, which they did, and to stay poised down the stretch which they’ve done,’ the Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said post-game.
Toronto Raptors go on to play Sacramento Kings on Wednesday evening while Orlando Magic are off to play Atlanta Hawks.