Toronto Raptors vs Orlando Magic - Game Report - April 1, 2019
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Remember that time the Raptors traded Demar Derozan for Danny Green and threw in Kawhi Leonard?
That’s the new way of telling this story.
Green netted a career-high 29 points, including 10 3-pointers in the Raptors 121-109 win over the Orlando Magic at the Scotiabank Arena Monday night.
Green banged up his thumb in the first but didn’t affect his shooting with coach Nick Nurse adding “take a whack on the thumb every first quarter. Just kidding.”
Or was he?
Nurse said the key to setting the tone in the first five to 10 minutes was to “try to concentrate on us, again polish some of our defensive packages, hope we move the ball and hope these guys are feeling good about who they are as individual players and who they are as a team.”
The Raptors did none of that in the first quarter.
Shotty defense and a solid 7-0 start for the Magic wasn’t exactly what Nurse was looking for, and by the end of one, the Magic had built up a 36-29 lead. Everything was going right (and in) for Orlando, yet the opposite was happening for the Raptors. Green accounted for 13 of the first 20 points for Toronto.
Things needed to change quickly. And they did.
Kawhi Leonard and Marc Gasol went to work in the second, and with just two left in the half, Gasol set up four-point play by nailing a three while falling to the floor and converting a free-throw to put the Raptors up 53-5 with 1:49 left in the half. Gasol went to work again on the very next play, grabbing the ball on defense and tossing it over to Leonard for an easy bucket. The Raps were up by 10 at the half.
So what was the turning point in the game for Gasol? “defensively, I don’t know how many stops we put together, we turned it up a little, we communicated we finished possessions with rebounds, we were able to run , we did a pretty good job of moving the ball and finding the open guy”.
By the third quarter, Toronto was shooting 50% from the field, and Green had racked up 23 points, with the Raptors taking a 73-59 lead with just over seven minutes to go. Toronto then went on a 19-2 run to close out the quarter and take a commanding 95-75 lead heading into the final quarter. Toronto kept that momentum going into the fourth quarter. And even though they slipped a little and allowed the Magic to regain some momentum, came out with the win.
Toronto now faces matchups against teams who are all vying for that eight and final playoff spot.
For Nurse, that's just fine.
"I'm not so sure we've had a team play their backsides off, so its been just a little too easy, right? I'm not taking away anything from anybody, but we've been pretty comfortable here and I wouldn't mind maybe a little bit more stress."