Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) heads up court during first half NBA basketball playoff action against the Orlando Magic in Toronto on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Raptors off to 2nd round after 115-96 win over Magic

Toronto beats Orlando in 5 games in opening-round NBA playoff series

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors dispatched the Orlando Magic in record time, checking the first box of what the team hopes is a long playoff run.

Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points as Toronto throttled Orlando 115-96 on Tuesday, winning an opening-round playoff series in five games for the first time in franchise history.

Toronto will face the winner of the Philadelphia and Brooklyn series. The Sixers took a 3-1 lead into Tuesday’s game.

Pascal Siakam scored 24 points for the Raptors, who led by as many as 37 points in the dying minutes. Kyle Lowry had 12 of his 14 points in the first quarter and doled out nine assists, Norman Powell chipped in with 11 points and Serge Ibaka finished with 10.

D.J. Augustin led Orlando with 15 points.

Lowry and the Raptors clearly had no interest in flying back to Orlando for a Game 6. Coming off a pair of victories on the Magic’s Amway Center court, Lowry scored the team’s first nine points and the Raptors pounced on the overmatched Magic from the opening tip. The Magic were virtual spectators as Toronto sprinted to a 24-point lead late in the first quarter. The team’s 19 assists on 23 made field goals in the first half was a post-season franchise record.

Orlando, which was making its first post-season appearance in seven years, missed its first 11 three-point attempts before Evan Fournier finally connected more than four minutes into the second quarter.

The Raptors led by 31 points in the third and cruised into the fourth up 99-70 in front a soldout Scotiabank Arena crowd of 19,800 fans that included Toronto rapper Drake — putting a dent in the “Drake curse” theory.

The crowd serenaded Leonard with chants of “M-V-P!” when the Raptors star was subbed out of the game with just under eight minutes to play.

Coach Nick Nurse went deep into his bench the rest of the way.

Lowry and Fred VanVleet (with 10) combined for 19 assists, as the Raptors had 34 assists to Orlando’s 20. Toronto also held Orlando to 26.5 per cent shooting from three-point range.

Nurse said the key to Tuesday’s game was to lock down on the defensive end from the get-go.

“I think the main emphasis tonight is to try to do it over the course of the 48 minutes,” he said.

READ MORE: NBA reminding teams to keep cool when hot with referees

On a big night for Toronto sports, the Maple Leafs were facing Boston in a do-or-die game. The score was periodically flashed on the Jumbotron, and most of the TV screens on the concourse were dialled into the Leafs game.

With big dreams of reaching the NBA Finals, the Raptors now have a precious few days of breathing room — and one less trip to Orlando — until the Eastern Conference semifinals begin this weekend. And with a roster rife with injuries, plus Leonard’s load management, in the regular-season, they could use it.

In Toronto’s most successful post-season in 2016, the Raptors needed seven games to knock off both Indiana and Miami before facing a rested LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference final.

Orlando upset Toronto to win the opener before the Raptors roared back to capture the next three, including a pair of victories at Orlando’s Amway Center.

Lowry, who’d taken grief for scoring zero points in Game 1, could barely miss in the first quarter on Tuesday, shooting an efficient 5-for-6 from the field. The Raptors shot 63 per cent from three-point range, while Orlando missed all seven of their long-range attempt. Toronto led 35-19 to start the second.

The Magic made a run against Toronto’s bench to pull to within 11 points early in the second, but it was shortlived, and the Raptors took a 67-47 advantage into the halftime break.

Toronto will host Games 1 and 2 of the next round.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

NBA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Work begins on new affordable housing building in Nelson

The 39-unit project is expected to be complete by July 2021

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Morning Start: 180 different bird species exist in Kootenay National Park

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 29

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Join Kootenay family in virtual walk for Ronald McDonald House

“We always described it as our oasis in the middle of the desert,” Brigitte Ady shares.

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Most Read