Nikola Vučević and Amir Johnson - USA TODAY Sports
Orlando made strides defensively in its loss to Toronto on Thursday, but didn't get key stops when they mattered most.
The Orlando Magic fell to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday, 97-95, to drop their 15th game in their last 17 tries. The loss drops them to 14-28 on the season and puts them in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan hit the game-winning shot as time expired, capping a 14-point fourth quarter and a game-high 22-point outing for the fifth-year player from USC.
Toronto built a lead that reached 11 points in the fourth quarter, but Orlando came back and tied the score twice in the final minute before DeRozan's heroics.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's 2012/13 average;|
red denotes a stat worse than the team's 2012/13 average.
After the game, the Magic patted themselves on the back for their renewed commitment to defense. Toronto mustered 97 points in a slow game on the Magic's home floor, but Orlando's claims have some merit: the 108.4 points per 100 possessions allowed was their best since their last victory, a 97-86 triumph over the Indiana Pacers on January 16th, and their second-best since allowing 105.2 points per 100 possessions to Toronto on December 21st.
The Magic's ability to control the boards helped them on Thursday, as did their free-throw shooting. Orlando's free-throw rate of 21 was their finest performance in that facet of the game since December 21st.
However, the Raptors took care of the ball, committing only 10 turnovers which translated to eight Orlando points. The surehandedness, coupled with accurate shooting, helped Toronto complete its four-game sweep of Orlando.