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Orlando’s 2nd Half Defensive Effort Powers Them Over Raptors

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando Magic might have found the right formula for the rest of the NBA to defeat the Toronto Raptors. Five days after beating the Raptors on their home court, Orlando repeated the same formula in beating them Friday night by the score of 102-94. Serge Ibaka and Evan Fournier both scored 20 points and both had over 10 rebounds apiece in the victory. Ibaka finished with 12 and Fournier had 10 rebounds.

Toronto played the game without All-Star DeMar DeRozan but got off to a great start in the post by feeding Jonas Valanciunas the ball early. He scored 9 points in the first quarter and had 13 in the opening half. Toronto shot 18 for 27 in the opening half from inside the paint and outscored Orlando by 20 from that area. Even though they were outplayed in the paint to start the game, Orlando kept in it by shooting 54.1% from the floor as a team.

Led by Ibaka, who had 14 in the opening half, the Magic used balance to keep the deficit to 2 points. They had four players score at least 8 points in the first half.

After watching Toronto score two-thirds of their points in the paint in the first half, Orlando made a huge effort in the second half to keep Toronto from getting baskets from close range.

“There were two clips that I thought were glaring on the halftime minute that we show in the locker room that our bigs didn’t honor their responsibilities of protecting the paint… Because Jonas was going in the first half a little bit in the post, but most of their points came off of penetration on the perimeter… We saw a turnaround.” – Magic coach Frank Vogel on the team’s 2nd half defensive adjustment

Besides the defensive paint effort, Orlando made an all around team effort to shut down Toronto’s other All-Star guard Kyle Lowry. Led by C.J. Watson, Lowry was held to a 5 for 20 shooting night, including 2 for 11 in the second half.

“…Just to stay close to him [Kyle]. I know him a little. We work out in the summer time together so I have some familiarity with him. It’s pretty easy to guard him.” – Magic guard C.J. Watson on guarding Kyle Lowry

Besides holding Lowry to a rough shooting night, Watson had a very good shooting night for himself off the bench. He scored 18 points, and scored from all over. He hit 5 of his 6 shots from the floor, hit all 7 of his free throws and even knocked down a three pointer in his 32 minutes on the floor.

“He’s been one of our best players the last couple of weeks. He’s playing really good basketball. Playing the two or the one, giving us some really good versatility there, but really enhancing what we’re doing on the defensive end.” – Vogel on C.J. Watson

Orlando travels to Atlanta on Saturday night for a key southeast division game with the Hawks.

 

Points Of Interest:

  • Orlando held Toronto to 39.1% shooting for the game
  • Lowry shot 2 for 11 from the 3-point line, he was 6 for 9 in the game on Sunday against the Magic
  • Orlando got to the line 32 times in the game, including 19 in the second half

 

Danny Thompson is a sports contributor for Florida National News.

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