TORONTO (AP) — Kept off the scoreboard in a Game 1 defeat, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was “at his finest” in Game 2, at least in the eyes of coach Nick Nurse.
Fellow All-Star Kawhi Leonard wasn’t too bad, either.
Leonard scored 37 points, Lowry bounced back with 22 and the Raptors routed the Orlando Magic 111-82 on Tuesday night, evening their Eastern Conference first-round series at one win apiece.
Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who never trailed and led by as many as 34.
Game 3 is Friday night in Orlando.
Leonard said Lowry “led us in intensity,” helping the East’s No. 2 seed avoid a 2-0 hole.
“He did a great job of bouncing back,” Leonard said. “He’s a pro. That’s what pros do, they know it’s just one game and they come in the next game ready to play.”
Lowry, who missed all seven attempts in Game 1, shot 8 for 13 and led his team with seven assists.
“He was big time tonight,” Nurse said. “That’s him at his finest.”
Siakam said Lowry was visibly more tuned in Tuesday than he was Saturday.
“From the jump he had that fire in his eyes,” Siakam said. “That’s the Kyle we know.”
Despite playing in foul trouble for much of the night, Leonard finished with a career playoff-high 15 field goals. He made his first nine attempts from inside the arc before missing a layup.
Leonard shot 15 for 22 before leaving to a standing ovation with 4:46 remaining and Toronto ahead 104-73.
“Leonard was great,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “What are you going to do? He was great.”
Leonard’s career playoff high is 43, set with San Antonio against Memphis on April 22, 2017. He made 14 baskets in that game.
“Tonight he was just in a groove, getting downhill, getting to his spots,” Lowry said. “He’s a player who knows where he wants to be on the floor and when he gets to those spots, he’s pretty tough to guard.”
Aaron Gordon scored 20 points, Terrence Ross had 15 and Evan Fournier 10 for the Magic, who won the opener 104-101 on a tiebreaking 3 by D.J. Augustin with 4.2 seconds to go.
Nikola Vucevic, who shot 3 for 14 in Game 1, struggled again in Game 2, going 3 of 7 and scoring six points.
“They did a good job taking away a lot of my strengths,” Vucevic said. “I’ve just got to figure out a way to be more aggressive, be more efficient offensively.”
Augustin, who had 25 points Saturday, shot 1 for 6. Seven of his nine points came at the free throw line.
Orlando didn’t score for almost five minutes to start the game, missing its first six shots and four straight free throws. The drought ended when Gordon rebounded and scored on Vucevic’s miss from the line at 7:14 of the first, answering an 11-0 Toronto run.
Leonard scored 12 points in the opening quarter as the Raptors led 26-18 after one.
“Their defense set the tone for the game in the first quarter,” Clifford said.
Lowry scored 11 points in the second and Siakam added six, putting Toronto up 51-39 at halftime. Orlando shot 13 for 40 in the opening two quarters.
Leonard connected of seven of nine attempts in the third, scoring 17 points. The Raptors outscored the Magic 39-27 to take a 90-66 lead into the fourth.
“At halftime, I thought we had settled down,” Clifford said. “Then, at the beginning of the third quarter, they were good and, frankly, we were awful.”
Magic: Orlando missed its first five free throw attempts before Ross made two of three at 2:11 of the first. The Magic shot 8 for 16 at the line in the first half and finished 13 for 24. … Ross had 15 of Orlando’s 17 bench points in the first half. … The Magic were outscored 52-36 in the paint. … Orlando has outrebounded Toronto in all six meetings this season.
Raptors: Lowry snapped his scoring slump by splitting a pair of free throws at 10:48 of the first, leading to thunderous applause. He was cheered again after hitting a 3 at 6:52. … Only four players scored in the first half. Leonard had 17, Lowry 15, Siakam 12 and Serge Ibaka 7. … Toronto has won nine straight playoff games in which it makes more 3-pointers than its opponent. Toronto shot 11 for 35 Tuesday, while Orlando was 9 for 34. … G Patrick McCaw (sprained right thumb) was not available despite practicing the previous two days. … Toronto is 8-8 all time in Game 2s.
Orlando had just 11 turnovers in Game 1 but gave the ball away 17 times in Game 2, including on both of its opening two possessions.
“If we’re going to make this a long series, and hopefully we will, we’re going to need to be stronger with the ball,” Gordon said. “Simple as that.”
HOME SWEET HOME
Orlando has won nine straight at home and is unbeaten on its own court since a Feb. 22 loss to Chicago.
“We feed off the crowd, we like their energy,” Gordon said.
Game 3 is Friday night in Orlando.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.