Listed below are 5 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors’ 102-89 win over the Orlando Magic.
One — This was an uneventful win for the Raptors who at the moment are 11-2 of their final 13 video games. The Magic are final within the standings, and though that they had defeated the Raptors final month, the circumstances had been totally completely different because the Raptors had been lacking a number of starters. The Raptors took the lead early, however had been unable to tug away for good because the Magic have quietly ranked top-five in defensive ranking because the All-Star break. Orlando made a push initially of the fourth quarter, however Nick Nurse shortly put an finish to it by bringing again his starters to complete off the job. The Raptors now return house for a four-game homestand to safe their spot outdoors of the play-in match, holding a commanding three-game lead over Cleveland.
Two — The Raptors received the possession sport but once more, turning 19 turnovers into 32 factors to gas their offence. Within the halfcourt, the Raptors had been pretty disjointed and struggled to get into the paint on account of the Magic’s measurement within the center between Mo Bamba and Robin Lopez, however they had been persistently capable of construct leads by turning the Magic over. Fred VanVleet continues to guide the trouble, forcing one other 9 turnovers on this sport on the heels of pressuring the Timberwolves into 11 of their final win. VanVleet was accredited for 5 steals, however he additionally had one other block below the basket towards Bamba to erase a layup and alter possession, whereas additionally hounding a pair of drivers into travelling violations. VanVleet’s timing and aggressiveness in catching groups unexpectedly with double groups are impeccable. Whereas his capturing percentages stay low, his exercise on the defensive finish has been the largest driver of the workforce’s final two wins.
Three — The Raptors performed their starters collectively for half-hour, which is their highest utilization sport all season. It was the one group that labored, because the Raptors’ second unit was sluggish and confused every time they checked in. With the Raptors profitable by 23 factors in these half-hour, the five-man unit of VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Scottie Barnes is again to being a optimistic on the 12 months, rating at plus-six in 345 minutes for the Raptors’ most used lineups. And whereas that quantity stays modest if not overwhelming, this sport is a reminder that lineup knowledge is usually too noisy to make any agency conclusions. Within the win over Minnesota, the beginning group was ineffective and Nurse deserted it for the second half, whereas on this win, Nurse introduced the starters again for the final 9 minutes of the fourth quarter to safe the win. This sport was one of many good nights, the place the starters had been all capable of get their very own offense and end in double-digits.
4 — Barnes did a little bit of all the things earlier than closing out sturdy. Barnes tends to be extra reluctant to shoot when the workforce is wholesome, opting as an alternative to set the desk, however he broke that development tonight. Whether or not it was attacking the glass, setting exhausting screens and rolling with intent, and even pulling up on the jumper, there was a noticeable effort on Barnes’ half to attain. On the final two performs of the sport, Barnes regarded off Siakam to assault Bamba off the dribble, forcing a foul on the 7-foot shot-blocker. Then, on the next journey, Barnes ripped previous Bamba to blow up for a two-handed dunk on the basket. A part of his intent tonight may very well be chalked as much as the Floridian having household and buddies within the constructing, however that is additionally precisely what Nurse has been asking from Barnes all season. He completed with 17 factors, eight rebounds, and 7 assists and not using a turnover.
5 — VanVleet is just three makes away from breaking Kyle Lowry’s franchise file for many threes in a season. That may clarify why VanVleet was so aggressive together with his shot, particularly within the first half, as he completed the sport with 16 makes an attempt from deep with 5 makes to place himself inside putting vary. Because it occurs, VanVleet sees his former teammate on Sunday in Lowry’s extremely anticipated return to Toronto, the place he’s prone to break the file given how a lot the Warmth prioritize taking away the paint and the way a lot they play zone coverages. VanVleet tried 36 threes in his final three video games towards Miami this season.