ORLANDO, FL – If you look at the results, it would seem like what the great Yogi Berra used to say: “It’s déjà vu all over again” as the Magic were defeated for a second time straight by the Toronto Raptors 123-108. But Orlando had a different game than the 155-102 loss to Toronto on Sunday night in Tampa. This time, they really competed.
The Magic, ravaged with injuries this season, had to once again adjust their lineup after losing forward Aaron Gordon to a sprained ankle for 4-6 weeks.
Evan Fournier stepped up for the squad with an 18 point first half. There was hope, because they actually scored the games first 11 points for a 14-3 run.
If you look at Orlando’s stat line for the game, the problem is obvious. Two things stand out. The Magic had 17 turnovers, leading to 36 Raptors points, and Toronto guard and Van Fleet had a record setting night with 54 points and went 11 for 14 from 3-point range.
The Magic had scoring from Nikola Vucevic and Fournier for 21 points each, Cole Anthony scored 16 points, and the return of Chuma Okeke after a one month absence, and 10 points two for two from 3-point range.
Orlando competed through for first half, which ended in a competitive 64-60 Raptors advantage.
The problem was, the Magic lost steam in the third quarter with six turnovers for 12 Toronto points, and Van Fleet went on an 18 point tear.
The Magic couldn’t keep up steam for the whole game.
“[If] you over-dribble against that team, they’re going to take the ball. They’re as good as anybody in the league.” Said Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford. “Against the teams like that that are so good defensively, you’ve got to be willing to play the same way the whole game and we weren’t. We weren’t willing to do that. We did things well in stretches but not for 48 minutes.”
The Raptors, thanks to VanFleet, didn’t need much help from the bench, as the starters took most of the scoring load, with VanFleets 54, Norman Powell added 23 points, Pascal Siakam scored 12 points, and Kyle Lowery added 14 points and 10 assists.
The Magic next face off against the Chicago Bulls at home on Friday and Saturday at The Amway Center.