The Raptors truly went “Retro” versus Orlando
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
TORONTO. – The raptors step back in time with a Retro 1995 night of their organization highlighting the look and players of the era. The one thing that completely surprised everyone of the 19800 fans that made their way to the Scotiabank Arena was that the play on the court also reminded them of the mental mistakes that the team had back in 1995.
The highlight of the evening was the outstanding game of Kyle Lowry who put up 26 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in the 104 – 95 victory over the Orlando Magic. The All-star guard had thumb surgery in the off-season which caused him to miss the first 2 weeks of training camp and the entire preseason.
If you are not an avid basketball fan, you would think that he is as good or better than when he left the team after winning the championship in June.
His reaction to this question about his health was as usual a total humble attitude.
"I'm not even close, I think I could be a lot better," said Lowry. "I think that if you give me another couple of weeks of playing and give me some extra cardio, get my body a little fitter and I'll be a little bit better."
Asked by a reporter if he feels tired on the court Lowry joked: "Who me? If I was, I wouldn't tell you."
Lowry's driving layup at the buzzer gave Toronto a 51-46 lead heading into halftime. After shooting 12-of-23 from the floor in the first the Raptors struggled with 5 for 21 shooting in the second, letting Orlando cut into their lead.
"Nothing really surprises me about (Lowry), to be honest with you," said Toronto head coach Nick Nurse. "He is just such an experienced guy and he is such a gamer.
"His shot volume is up, and we say keep shooting them. He only took 11 threes tonight, so he is getting there."
The Raptors took a 31-22 lead in the first quarter led by Siakam's 11 points and three rebounds.
Siakam was called for his fifth foul of the night with 4:37 left in the game when he tried to rebound VanVleet's three-point attempt, sending Isaac to the line, where he made both free throws to make it 87-86.
Fouls have been a problem for Siakam early in the season and he said it was something he was going to work on.
"I think something has to be done," said Siakam. "I just have to be careful; I can't get into foul trouble. It's four games in a row."
Pascal Siakam added 24 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Fred VanVleet managed 14 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists.
After the Magic took a slim one-point lead late in the fourth quarter Siakam and Lowry worked a pick and roll repeatedly to re-establish the Raptors' lead and pull back ahead.
"It was amazing, it was amazing, just how smart he is making decisions with the basketball," said Siakam. "We've always had that chemistry from my first game here."
A trio of Lowry free throws added to Toronto's lead to make it 100-93 but Fultz dunked on a Fournier miss to keep the Magic in the game. A pair of VanVleet free throws, followed by two more from Siakam, made it 104-95.
Pascal Siakam came out to his locker wearing a black and purple Raptor shirt and white and purple Jordans.
Although he was only a year old when the Raptors played their first season in the NBA, Siakam's loving the throwback look.
"It's pretty funny that people really like the throwbacks," said Siakam. "When they came out it wasn't a thing, but whenever you throw something back, I guess it's exciting.
"To me they look cool."
The Raptors uniform for the night was the white, red, and purple Jurassic Park inspired jersey. The hardcourt was also painted purple, white, and red with dinosaur footprints marching across the floor. It was the first of several '95 Rewind Nights the team is hosting this season.
"Love it, love it. One of my all-time favorite jerseys of any team," said point guard Fred VanVleet. "Before I got here, after I got here, I thought it was an all-time classic look. Hopefully we get to wear it some more."
All-star guard Kyle Lowry was even more succinct: "Sexy. That's my quote of the night."
Jonathan Isaac led Orlando (1-2) with 24 points and seven rebounds. Former Raptors forward Terrence Ross saluted the sold-out Scotiabank Arena crowd of 19,800 after a brief video tribute was played in his honor. He finished with 11 points for the Magic.
It was the first time the two teams had played each other since Toronto beat the Magic in five games in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs before the Raptors went on to win the NBA Finals.
Toronto rock band the Barenaked Ladies sang the national anthems on Monday night just as they had at the Raptors' first-ever game.
The half time show was performed by Canadian hip-hop icon Choclair. During the evening the Raptors also highlighted players of the past and in this occasion as they were in town with the Magic the tribute was given to Terrence Ross and Khem Birch who were an important part of the franchise’s history.
“Good team. We knew it was going to be a good test … They took the lead there and our guys did a great job,” Nurse said.
Nurse called the response a sign of the team’s strength, but there’s more work to be done to make that last all game long.
“I’d probably put us at the 30-minute mark right now,” Nurse said. “We played pretty good basketball for 30 minutes and we need to extend that out. It’s OK.”