Finally, the Raps enjoy a laugher. Once Toronto seized the lead midway through Q1, they never looked back. Scoring 36 points in that quarter & the fourth was more than enough to bury Orlando.
The Raptors were white-hot in the first half against a crippled Magic squad. Our guys drained 10 of 14 from distance, with everyone (Calderon, Lowry, Pietrus, Anderson, Ross) in on the act. At closer range, Ed Davis was 5/8, on his way to 18 for the game. Several of his baskets were uncontested crams, as the Magic interior defense was invisible. DeMar DeRozan also found space inside for 11 points, & added 10 more in the second half . The 67 points racked up by the Raps was their highest half-total for the season. The pass-first Raps rang up 18 assists on 25 field goals, led by Jose’s 7. He and Kyle Lowry frequently used their speed to blow past Magic defenders in the open court, leading to odd man attacks.
The Magic weren’t suffering offensively, despite missing main men Glenn Davis & Jameer Nelson. The return of Hedo Turkoglu from injury provided some spark. Nicola Vecuvic continues to impress, with a solid baseline jumper complementing his rebounding. The Pride of Mississauga, Andrew Nicholson, enjoyed his best game as a pro with 22 points. However, the Magic’s backcourt was badly outplayed by Lowry & Calderon. Our Point Guards scored 31 points, & had 16 assists against 2 turnovers.
The second half was more of the same, except for a wobble halfway through Q3 in which Orlando crawled back to within 12, before the Raps restored a 16-point margin. Q4 was all Raps, as the Magic offered only half-hearted defense & the shots poured in.
Coach Casey seems happy to play his entire roster, and so he should. Nominal benchers like Alan Anderson & Amir Johnson are deserving of, & receiving, huge minutes. If Kyle Lowry is cranky about his second-string status, he’s showing no signs of it. Kyle hit his jumpers, & rolled inside for layups & dishes to the bigs. Terrence Ross bounced back nicely from his poor game in New Orleans; his 16 points included 4/5 from 3-ball land. The only Rap not to hit the floor was Linas Kleiza. Whether he’s suffering from another one of his myriad ailments, or Casey has had enough of his crummy play, is not clear.
This wipeout of Orlando was easily the Raps’ best game of the season. It was also their second straight road win, & their 7th victory in 8 games.
The schedule is finally ticking over in the Raps’ favour. After playing 19 of their first 31 games as visitors, the team is home for six straight starting Wednesday against Portland.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.