Following their dramatic win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night, the Orlando Magic took a trip over the boarder to take on the Eastern conference leading Toronto Raptors. The Magic, after a solid first half, struggled mightily in the second half, falling to the Raptors for the third time this season, 95-82.
For much of the first quarter, the Magic struggled on both ends. Toronto was able to get into their sets and get good shots on most of their early possessions, while forcing the Magic into lower percentage shots. Even with their slow start, the Magic were able to keep the Raptors close, thanks to a spark off the bench from the likes of Ben Gordon and Elfrid Payton. Swingman Maurice Harkless, who's been stuck on the bench for much of the season, also got in early on instead of Willie Green, who had been seeing most of the backup small forward minutes. Three players -- Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic for the Magic, and Terrence Ross for Toronto -- scored six points in the quarter to lead their respective teams.
After some struggles early, the Magic offense continued to hit on all cylinders in the second quarter. Despite only being credited with nine assists on 23 made shots, the Magic's offense was on fire. They shot a white hot 23-of-39 from the field, including making seven of their final 10 attempts. After Evan Fournier took an elbow to the jaw from Tyler Hansbrough, the Magic blasted the Raptors, going on an 18-to-2 run to close out the half. The late run was fueled by Harris and Ben Gordon, who combined for 14 of the 18 points. Harris led all scorers with 14 at the half, with Louis Williams leading the Raptors with 10 off the bench.
Out of halftime, the Magic struggled mightily. The offense had no flow, and, despite playing some very, very solid defense, were unable to string together stops consistently against a hot shooting Raptors team. Poor ball movement, coupled with shots just simply not falling, was the Magic's downfall, as the Raptors outscored them 27-13 in the quarter to retake control of the game, carrying a six point lead into the final 12 minutes. Harris and Gordon continued to lead the Magic, and all scorers, with each pouring in 16 in the first 36 minutes. Toronto's All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry got things going, jumping up with 14 points to lead the Eastern conference's top team.
Things continued to go downhill, and quickly, for the Magic early in the fourth quarter. The offense had absolutely no flow, and they couldn't put back-to-back stops together for almost the entire period. The Magic struggled with turnovers for the second straight quarter, making sloppy plays and coughing it up to the swarming Raptors defense seven times. Toronto held the Magic to just 30 points in the second half on a frigid 13-of-35 from the field, coupled with 12 turnovers, leading to 16 Raptor points.
Toronto was led by Williams, who finished with a game high 18 off the bench. Lowry, who got things going in the second half, finished with 17 points and eight assists. Big men Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson rounded out Raptors in double figures, finishing with 11 and 10 respectively.
Orlando was led by Harris, who finished with 18. Ben Gordon didn't play in the fourth quarter, but was still able to muster 16 points off the bench on the night. Nikola Vucevic came a rebound shy of his 15th double-double, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds, with Victor Oladipo adding in 12. Fournier, stitches and all, finished with 11 to round out Magic men in double figures.