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Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors, 4/16/19 NBA Predictions & Odds

17 April, 2019, 13:07 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard holds the ball as Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon defends during first half NBA basketball playoff action in Toronto on Tuesday

Or take Marc Gasol's in-and-out three in the dying seconds and tack on the one free throw he missed.

Game 1 looks to have been an anomaly, as Orlando is a much better team when its big man gets going.

Just over a minute into Game 2 against the Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry sniffed out a mismatch against center Nikola Vucevic and went to work.

Lowry, meanwhile, said he was feeling "fantastic" ahead of Game 2 on Tuesday in Toronto.

It's always important to remember how thin the margins are.

But where the Raptors were lackadaisical on defence for huge chunks of Saturday's game, they were locked in from the opening tip on Tuesday, forcing 17 turnovers for 26 points. Early on, it appeared the Raptors were positioned to roll to a comfortable victory over an inferior opponent. And if everyone did not know, now they know, the Magic can win this series. Danny Green gave the obligatory Kyle-does-all-the-little-things observation on Monday, and then said this about his scoreless night: "That's the life of a shooter", he said. "He played well, he adjusted well".

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One thing Lowry might be urged to do more of, is to get out and run. That's what I told them this morning.

Second, Siakam absolutely got the better of his matchup with Isaac, no small feat considering the Orlando forward won the majority of their battles during the regular season.

The Raptors are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven conference games, but 1-4 ATS in their last five games against a winning record. Look for Lowry to see if he can push his team a bit more than he did on Saturday. With Siakam as his primary defender, Isaac finished the game minus-10, the lowest on his team by a mile. While the defense was shutting Orlando down in the first quarter, Kawhi was asserting himself offensively and making sure the tone was set at both ends.

So, what was the difference between Saturday and the times Siakam struggled against Orlando during the regular season?

"A lot of times your best player exhausted is going to be better than the guy backing him up fresh and that's the reality of the playoffs", Clifford said. "I don't see that happening again". And also, he bitches at the refs a lot, and it is a wonder to me that someone hasn't made t-shirts featuring his bewildered expression, arms outstretched, while asking an official what in the hell just happened. The moment was a portrait of Raptors fanhood - a combination of encouragement for a player who has built an All-Star career over seven seasons in Toronto, with a pinch of salt mined from years of postseason anxiety. Teams that drop the first two games at home in the National Basketball Association playoffs go on to lose the series about 85% of the time, and for the Raptors franchise they are 0-7 in series in which they dropped into an 0-2 hole. "He played it pretty well". And he didn't even really make any perimeter shots - I think he made one 17-footer. "Not good, he was terrific", Clifford said. "But he did a nice job of getting it where he wanted to go with some physicality, moving it around their length, and finishing". From the opening tip, they suffocated the Magic, not allowing Orlando to get on the board for almost five minutes of game time. If he'd hit two, the narrative around this team, this series, would be completely different today. Flipping, primarily, DeRozan for Leonard was a tough pill to swallow, but it sent a message that the Raptors were willing to part with a star on a long-term deal for a superstar on an expiring contract, believing that they could convince Leonard to stick around and turn Toronto into a consistent contender.

The Magic need to come up with another plan for Vucevic. Offence comes and goes, shooting can be erratic. Defensive energy is entirely within your own control.


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