What started out as a promising night quickly dissipated as the fourth quarter clock began churning.
The Magic held a 76-68 advantage following a stunning 25-13 third quarter performance that showed the Magic shutting down a team that had scored 100 points in 23 consecutive games.
The Magic, however, had failed to score 90 in now five of their past seven games.
So the Raptors closed them out on Tracy McGrady Night after a 25-10 fourth quarter advantage on a night that they were without DeMar DeRozan (thigh) and Fred Van Fleet (wrist).
It took 25 points from Kyle Lowry on 9 of 17 shooting. He came to life at the end of the first half with the Raptors final eight points to pull within one.
This is one the Magic should have won. They held the Raptors under 100 on 45.5 percent shooting, outscored them in the paint 48-38, and took 13 more shots.
To take any solace from this one, you have to point to the combination of Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon.
The three giants came out of the gate with a 18-11 advantage, including a breakaway 360 dunk from Gordon, who looked fully recovered from his concussion.
Gordon (16 points) and Isaac (10 points) combined to finished with 26 points on 11 of 22 shooting, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks in a combined 62 minutes (26 together).
Isaac was solid in the early going, contributing a pair of threes en route to eight points on 3 of 5 shooting, four rebounds and two blocks in the first quarter.
However, the first half star was Shelvin Mack, with 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting in 14 minutes.
In Jonathon Simmons’ absence, Frank Vogel opted to go big with a front court of Gordon, Isaac and Vucevic, which resulted in 18-11 advantage.
The first half wasn’t all roses and rainbows. Norman Powell came in possessed, with 10 points in his first nine minutes on 4 of 5 shooting. Then, at closing time, Lowry, came alive with the Raptors’ final eight points, giving him the half lead at 16. The Raptors led at half 52-51.
But the third quarter would belong to the Orlando Magic, who would race out to a 25-13 advantage, 18 of which was scored by DJ/Vuc/Gordon.
But the Magic’s scoring woes crept up again in the fourth as they did not score their first field goal until NINE minutes had passed.
While the collapse seemed all a product of the Magic missing opportune shots in the fourth, Frank Vogel made another interesting assessment.
When asked about the foul shooting discrepancy, 17-5, in favor of the Raptors, Vogel said:
“The free throw differential speaks for itself.”
The Raptors were led by Lowry with 25, Ibaka with 13, Wright and Powell with 10 each.
The Magic were led by Mack with 17, Gordon with 16, Vuc with 15 on 7 of 19 shooting, and Isaac with 10.
Next up the Magic welcome Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, JJ Reddick and the Philadelphia 76ers, this Thursday at 7pm.
Tracy McGrady Night
It’s only fitting that the Orlando Magic celebrate Tracy McGrady on a night that they face the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors drafted McGrady straight out of high school in 1997, as the ninth overall selection.
Early on, McGrady struggled to earn playing time, and it resulted in depression, as he slept as much as 20 hours a day. He later referred to his rookie season as “hell.”
However, the next year, distant cousin Vince Carter was drafted, and the two formed a close bond.
McGrady wanted a return home and a greater role, so he signed a six year, $63 million contract, where he would be paired with Grant Hill (who would play 47 games in four years).
In 2004, he was part of a seven player trade that included Steve Francis to the Houston Rockets. Injuries would derail the latter portion of McGrady’s career and he spent his final season in Quingdao of the Chinese Basketball Association before retiring.
Since then Tracy has worked for ESPN as an analyst.
Tracy McGrady led the league in scoring twice as a member of the Orlando Magic, averaging a career best 32.1 ppg in 2002-2003. He made the NBA All-Star team in seven consecutive seasons, as well as the All-NBA Team, with two of those seasons on the First Team.
He was the NBA’s Most Improved player in 2001 and holds eight Magic records:
Most points in a game: 62 (March 10, 2004 vs. Washington)
Most field goal attempts in a season: 1,813 (2002–03)
Most free throws made in a season: 576 (2002–03)
Most points in a season: 2,407 (2002–03)
Highest minutes per game in a season: 40.1 (2002–03)
Highest points per game in a season: 32.1 (2002–03)
Highest minutes per game in a career: 39.4
Highest points per game in a career: 28.1
The Magic honored McGrady by entering him into their Hall of Fame tonight, honoring him following the first quarter, where the Magic led 25-24. McGrady was treated to a show in the first, with a breakaway 360 dunk by Aaron Gordon in his first game back from a concussion.
Dwayne Casey on T-Mac:
“One of the all time greats. Had a lot of doubters as a young pup in Toronto. Ironic that we’re celebrating him tonight in Orlando.”
Frank Vogel on T-Mac:
“As difficult as anyone in the league at his time. His ability to rise up and shoot over any defender. He couldn’t be double teamed because of his size and passing. He’s as difficult as anyone I’ve had to prepare against.”