That one seemed really easy, didn’t it? Watching the new and improved Toronto Raptors take care of business is a beautiful thing, especially when considering some of the disappointing losses that have occurred versus weak opponents in recent weeks.
Following a 98-83 win over the Orlando Magic at the Air Canada Centre tonight, the Toronto Raptors now sit three games above the .500 mark. This victory came at a perfect time, seeing as a five game Western Conference road trip commences on Friday. Tons of positives to take away from this one. Let’s get to the report card.
It was raining in downtown Toronto tonight. Not in the literal sense, but the downpour that took place inside the ACC could have gotten people fooled. The Raptors offense sprinted out of the gate to begin this one. Through converting 11 three-point looks in the first half alone (one shy of the franchise record), Toronto’s scoring effort was quite potent. The team was getting out in transition whenever they could, and Kyle Lowry (more on him later) was simply scorching from the field.
A healthy mix of pull-up jumpers, drive and kicks, and hook shots in the paint really kept the Toronto Raptors to afloat on offense all game. This was simply one of the nights where it seemed as if all of the shots were falling. Amir Johnson showed up on offense tonight too— posting 22 points on 10 of 20 shooting. Maybe this game is the one that can get Amir back on track, as he’s faltered of late. The team tallied 26 assists and only 14 turnovers in their 24th win. Looking for some negatives here? Amir rolled his ankle late in the game and the fans didn’t get pizza, so there’s that. There’s honestly not much else.
Arron Afflalo is the leading scorer for the Orlando Magic, and he’s been playing at an all-star level this season. Tonight? Not so much. Kudos to Terrence Ross for an exceptional effort on the defensive end, limiting Afflalo to a dismal 10 point night on 4 of 11 shooting. Rookie standout Victor Oladipo had a tough night at the office too (3 for 14, 12 points), so offense was pretty difficult to come by for the struggling Magic. They shot 33.3% as a team.
Amazing rebounding performance for the men in white tonight. The Raptors outrebounded Orlando * to *. Second chance points were limited for the road team, and Toronto generated more than its fair share of extra opportunities. Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson were both absolute beasts on the glass, pulling down 15 and 11 boards respectively. It didn’t stop there though, Ross pulled down 8 rebounds of his own, while Lowry and Chuck Hayes grabbed 7 apiece. Awesome team effort.
If you watched this game, this should not come as a surprise. Kyle Lowry showed up early on in this game, and never took his foot off the pedal. This was his second consecutive game with more than 30 points (he had 33 points on 11/20 FGA, making 6 out of his 11 shots from long range in the process), and he dropped 11 dimes too. Not only was his offense going, but he was setting up his consistently setting up his teammates as well— can’t ask for much more from your starting point guard. He’s really gunning for one of the reserve spots on the Eastern Conference all-star roster. His recent play has been impressive enough to keep him in the conversation. He was only three boards shy of another triple-double tonight. He’s been balling.