The Orlando Magic has defeated the Toronto Raptors for the second straight time this week by the final score of 102-94. The win gets the Magic back on track after losing five out of their last six games including their last two and gives them momentum for the next game.
“We played well in both of these games (both games against Raptors tonight),” said Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel. “We beat them with DeRozan and we beat them tonight without and we got a much-needed home win. Our guys showed a healthy enthusiasm for the game tonight. It’s been a tough run for us. We’re not happy with the way we played and what our record looks like but we’re not quitting and we’re not giving in and we’re going to keep competing and try to stay together and playing for each other and bringing positive energy to the court.”
In the first half, the game went back and forth as both teams wouldn’t let each other take control of the game. The Magic were down 51-46 at one point late in the first half but Point Guard Elfrid Payton took over in the last two minutes in the second quarter as he scored the Magic’s last six points. At the half, it was 54-52 Raptors.
Offensively, the Magic got off to a hot start as they shot 54.1% from the floor and 57.1% from the three point line which is tremendous in an NBA game. The second half was the same story. Coach Vogel on the offensive side of the ball tonight especially with the ball movement as they had five guys scoring in double figures.
“Our guys are trying to pass the basketball,” said Vogel. “They’re trying to play for each other and for the most part not forcing and we’ve seen a lot of bad stretches of ugly basketball this season where we weren’t playing with the pass enough. Another focal point that we harp on every single day that we know wins for us. It’s not always instinctual with this group but we did tonight and it looked pretty good.”
In the beginning of the second half, the Magic went on an 18-5 run behind Magic’s Nikola Vucevic scoring 14 straight points at one point to get the Magic to an 11 point lead in the middle of the third quarter. Coach Vogel on the hot start of Vucevic in the second half and how that helped open up the game.
“Yeah built that lead and both ends impact each other,” Vogel said. “Vuch (Vucevic) getting going like he did and giving us a 10, 11 point lead probably helped out our paint defense on the other end. They’re behind and now they are playing catch up, come back basketball, shooting more three’s. He had a great stretch right there to help us win this game much like he did in the second quarter last time we played these guys.”
Defensively, the Magic did a good job especially in the second half of containing the Raptors to shooting only 39.1% from the floor and holding them to 36 bench points for the night. Coach Vogel on their defensive effort tonight and his vision moving forward.
“We haven’t held a team under 40% shooting in I don’t know how long,” Vogel said. “My vision was that we would do this on a regular basis and that still the plan. We haven’t performed at that level yet but we continue to harp on it and teach it, we continue to go through the drill work that we did in practice and the film session yesterday to try to get it right and I believe we can do it.”
Other notable Magic performers in the game were Serge Ibaka who had 20 points and 12 rebounds on the night. Evan Fournier had 20 points and 10 rebounds as well and CJ Watson had 18 points and four assists off the bench tonight.
With the win, the Magic are now 20-32 on the season and are looking to continue to keep the momentum going when they have a quick turnaround as they are on the road and will play for the second straight night tomorrow when they play the Atlanta Hawks.