The Toronto Raptors surprisingly lost Game 1 of the playoff series against the Orlando Magic at Scotiabank Arena a week ago, but they managed to even the tie three days later, before heading to Florida.
Toronto bounced back from the loss in the first game, but the team needed to be at their sharpest in time for Game 3 at Amway Centre on Friday.
The Raptors won the game 98-93, but more importantly, they showed a great level of consistency and that they were able to not take a step back against a strong opponent willing to fight till the very end.
Pascal Siakam led Toronto to win, recording a double-double with 30 points and 11 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds, Danny Green chipped in with 13, while Kyle Lowry scored 12 points, along with 10 assists and an important offensive rebound 15 seconds before the buzzer.
Terrence Ross scored 24 points for the home team, while Nikola Vucevic had 22.
Siakam was definitely the star of the night, shooting 13 for 20, and scoring some crucial points late in the game.
He shot 13-for-20 on the night, including a shot with 1:33 to play in the midst of a fierce Orlando rally. Working his way up through the Raptors’ G-League affiliate, and was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 27th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. Many consider him to be one of the most improved players in the league this year.
Raptors Riding Momentum
19,367 spectators gathered at Amway Centre to watch the Magic, who made it to the playoffs after 7 years. The team had nine home wins in a row before this games, with the winnings streak stretching back to February.
But the Raptors continued where they left off in Game 2, and quickly increased their lead to 11 points.
Orlando slowly returned to the game and took its first lead of the game in the third quarter. The Raptors had a quick response, an 18-2 run. They ended the third with a 21-6 run and an 11-point advantage.
This lead increased in the fourth, with Lowry’s three-pointer giving the Raptors a 17-point lead, 4:12 into the quarter. And though it appeared the Raptors would wrap up the game, the Magic went on a 21-10, and even pulled to within 4 points less than 2 minutes before the end.
Orlando was only three points behind when Lowry grabbed an offensive rebound, which would prove to be crucial. Leonard scored both free throws 12.9 seconds before the buzzer to clinch it for the Raptors.
After Game 4 on Sunday, the series will return to Toronto on Tuesday. If necessary, Game 6 will be played at Amway Centre on Thursday. The best odds for Game 4, scheduled to take place on Sunday can be found at William Hill.