Magic drop Game 5, go down to Raptors in first round of Eastern Conference playoffs
TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors turned in another dominant defensive effort, extending their playoff winning streak to a team-record four and clinching a berth in the second round.
Kyle Lowry scored 14 points as the Raptors finished off the Magic with ease, bouncing back from a Game 1 defeat to win by double-digits in three of the next four. Toronto led by as many as 37 in the clincher, their biggest-ever margin in a playoff game.
“We kind of figured it out and made a good adjustment after Game 1,” Lowry said. “We were a little bit too soft in coverages and we figured it out really quickly, what we wanted to do, how we needed to help each other and how we needed to play. To figure it out that quick is a really good thing for us. We’ve just got to continue to build off it.”
Toronto will face Philadelphia in the second after the 76ers eliminated Brooklyn Tuesday. It’s the fourth straight year the Raptors have reached the second round.
“Should be a great series, man,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of facing the Sixers. “Obviously, it’s a team with tremendous size, starting right off the bat with (Joel) Embiid inside. But they’re big all over.”
Leonard made 8 of 11 shots, including 5 of 5 from 3-point range, as the Raptors jumped on Orlando early and never trailed. Leonard also made all six of his free throws. He checked out to cheers of “MVP, MVP” with 8:05 to play and Toronto up 105-75.
D.J. Augustin scored 15 points, Terrence Ross had 12 and Aaron Gordon 11 for the Magic, who won 104-101 on Augustin’s late 3-pointer in Game 1 but never again topped 96 points, and twice finished with 85 or fewer.
“We were never able, after Game 1, to handle the ball against their defense the way we needed to,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said. “To me, that was the biggest factor.”
Orlando made 32 of 83 shots Tuesday, including 9 of 34 from 3-point range.
“We’re obviously disappointed that we didn’t put up a better fight, especially tonight,” Magic center Nikola Vucevic said.
The Magic hadn’t reached the postseason since 2012. That year, Orlando won its opener on the road against Indiana, then lost four straight. The Magic haven’t advanced past the opening round since 2010, when they lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Clifford said inexperience wasn’t a factor in his young team’s early exit.
“We weren’t afraid, we didn’t play well enough,” he said.
Lowry scored Toronto’s first nine points and had 12 in the opening quarter. Orlando missed 10 of its first 11 shots and went 0 for 7 from 3-point range in the first. Toronto was up 35-19 after one.
“Kyle played great tonight,” Leonard said. “He got us all going with that amazing first quarter. We all just fed off his energy.”
The Magic missed 11 straight from long range before Fournier connected at 7:55 of the second. Toronto answered with a 6-0 spurt, opening a 50-29 lead with 6:48 to go until halftime. Leonard and Siakam each had seven points in the second and the Raptors held a 67-47 lead at the intermission.
Toronto took a commanding 99-70 lead into the fourth.
Magic: Vucevic missed his first four shots and had three fouls in a scoreless first quarter, playing only five minutes. Vucevic scored his first basket at 9:54 of the third, when Orlando trailed by 26. He shot 3 for 10 and scored six points. … Khem Birch led Orlando with 11 rebounds.
Raptors: Toronto had 19 assists on 23 baskets in the first half, a Raptors record for a single half of a postseason game. They finished with 34 assists on 41 baskets, a team playoff record. … G Fred VanVleet led Toronto with 10 assists while Lowry had nine. … Five games is the quickest Toronto has ever won a seven-game series. … F Chris Boucher (back) was not available.
Toronto won three straight playoff games against Milwaukee in the first round in 2017. The Raptors also won three straight in 2001, two against the New York Knicks and one against Philadelphia.
POINT THE FINGER
Lowry left at 2:41 of the second quarter and headed to the locker room after jamming the ring finger on his right hand while deflecting a ball. He returned to start the second half, and was wearing a splint after the game.
“It popped out but it’s fine,” Lowry said. “I popped it back in. I’ve got a couple of days to get it back and recover. It will be better by Game 1.”
Lowry reached 1,000 career playoff points, while Toronto’s Danny Green became the eighth active player with 200 3-pointers in the playoffs.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
Down 115-78 with 5:13 left, Orlando scored the game’s final 18 points.
Toronto will host Philadelphia in Game 1 of the second round.