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Raptors 115, Magic 102: Another loss and another injury as Aaron Gordon exits early

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The Magic struggled offensively, suffered their 11th loss in 13 games, and now may be without AG

Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Magic leave Tampa with a loss. Aaron Gordon leaves Tampa on crutches.

Yes, the losses and injuries continue to pile up for the Magic.

Orlando struggled offensively, fell behind early, never made a serious run and fell to the Raptors 115-102 in Tampa, while possibly losing AG in the process.

Gordon exited the game twice, first with a hyperextended knee (courtesy of Kyle Lowry, see below), and then again after rolling his ankle in the third quarter.

It’s just been that kind of a season for the Magic.

As for the game itself...

The Raptors got off to a fast start when Fred VanVleet hit his first three shots and Pascal Siakam hit his first two to give Toronto an early 10-3 lead. Vooch, after missing his first three shots, hit a three, and Evan Fournier followed with another three as the Magic pulled within 12-11. The Raptors then responded with a 10-0 run, capped by a Kyle Lowry three that made it 22-13.

The Magic’s first two-point bucket didn’t come until 3:18 remained, when Fournier hit a floater in the paint. The Magic would have just one other field goal for the remainder of the quarter, an acrobatic layup by Terrence Ross with 45 seconds left, as they shot just 27 percent and trailed 27-15 after the first quarter. Van Vleet had nine points to lead the Raptors, who shot 45 percent in the opening quarter despite struggling from three (3-for-12).

The Magic came out in the second hitting their threes, with Gary Clark, Dwayne Bacon and Gordon each connecting to pull Orlando within 29-24 less than two minutes in. That though would be the final Magic field goal for over four minutes as the Raptors went up by 16 at one point.

It was the first time Gordon and Lowry came face-to-face since Lowry’s hard foul on Gordon in the NBA bubble that resulted in the two exchanging words, Lowry telling AG his hotel room number, and Gordon missing the playoffs with a hamstring injury. Lowry again seemed to initiate on Sunday with a cheap shot to Gordon’s knee that some might call a box out but I call a hip-check. AG then responded with a very intentional and very well-deserved shoulder check that was called a flagrant foul.

Gordon went to the Magic locker room with a hyperextended knee, but returned shortly after. No word on if Lowry again gave Gordon his hotel room number.

The Magic chipped away when a three by Cole Anthony ignited a 13-2 run that pulled the Magic within 45-40 with 2:17 left in the half. And the Raptors once again answered with an 11-2 run to rebuild their double-digit lead.

After Gordon hit a step-back jumper with 3.7 seconds left in the half, the Magic inexplicably allowed Lowry to go the length of the court to hit a layup at the buzzer, sending the Raptors into the break with a 58-44 advantage.

The Magic shot just 35 percent in the half, oddly enough shooting better from deep than they did from inside as they converted on 8 of 19 threes and just 7 of 23 twos. Gordon led the way with 11 points and Fournier had 9 (7 in the first). Nikola Vucevic played as if he was being haunted by the ghost of Marc Gasol, scoring just 3 points on 1-for-9 shooting. The Magic were limited to just 10 points in the paint and 2 second-chance points.

Siakam had 13 to lead the Raptors, who shot 46% at the half.

The two teams mostly traded baskets for a bulk of the third quarter. The Magic cut the lead to 11 after Anthony converted a layup and then hit a high-arching step-back jumper with 5.4 seconds left in the third to make it 84-73.

Earlier in the quarter, Gordon rolled his ankle and exited the game, this time for good after limping back to the locker room.

The Magic got within single digits when Vucevic hit a three early in the fourth to make it 84-76. The Raptors, as they did all night, responded with another run, this one a 14-5 stretch en route to building their largest lead of the night.

The Raptors, who despite their defensive drop-off this season remain one of the best at protecting the paint, limited the Magic to just 40.2% shooting and 32 paint points, many of which game during garbage time. Vucevic came to life in the second half, but finished with just 15 points on 5-for-18 shooting. Anthony led the Magic with 16 points and 6 assists. Fournier, after scoring 7 in the first, finished with just 11 points on 2-for-12 shooting (1-for-6 from deep).

Siakam had 30 points, and Lowry added 12 points and 15 assists for Toronto, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Magic lost their third straight game, suffering their 11th loss in their last 13 games. Things certainly won’t get any easier if they are without their point-forward Gordon for an extended period.

These two teams meet again on Tuesday to complete the two-game set.