Raptors Eliminate Magic in 5 Games, End Series in Easy Home Win
Talk about a cake walk.
On Tuesday night, one team showed up, while the other remained in Orlando and seemingly missed its flight to Game 5. The Toronto Raptors gave the Orlando Magic the first blow and the Magic simply could not recover. The smothering Raptors defense that has been on full display all season long looked to have broke the Magic and the Raptors’ seventh-seed opponents had no more fight left.
Mounting a 20 point lead midway through the first quarter, it took the Magic over half the quarter to even cross the 10-point mark. The Magic came out flat, while the Raptors came out looking to finish things on their home floor.
“I think our focus was to try to get out and put a stamp on the game from the defensive end and I think we did that,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “I think that was a good sign that we were ready to go. We were serious, we knew how hard we had to play against this team and obviously got off to a fantastic start.”
Once again, the Magic had no answer for the trio of Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and Kawhi Leonard. While Lowry finished the series with a +106 net rating, Siakam and Leonard combined for 51 points on 16-for-27 shooting.
Paul Pierce’s highest career net rating in a playoff series was in 2008 against the Hawks (+89)…Celtics won in 7.
— Rich Birfer (@richardbirfs) April 24, 2019
Following a heartbreaking Game 1 loss, the Raptors were able to put things together and virtually take over the remainder of the series. Marc Gasol absolutely shut down an All-Star in Nikola Vucevic, while the Toronto Bench woke up midway through the series as well. The Raptors as a team were aggressive on both ends of the court, the pushed the tempo throughout the series, and established their dominance early in each of their four first round wins.
“What they have, to me, is what you need, and it shows in their numbers: Their balance. If you look at every year in the NBA … most teams [that win it] are Top 10 in offence and defence,” said Magic head coach Steve Clifford before the game. “That’s what they are. They can play both ends of the floor at a very high level… sometimes you can be so good at one [you can get away with it], but by and large to win it all, you have to have the kind of balance they play with.”
With the series win, the Raptors now move to the second round where they will face the Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors will have home court advantage.