Kyle Lowry Credits Raptors' Defense For Game 2 Win

Rick Zamperin: Toronto Raptors show what they’re really made of

Rick Zamperin: Toronto Raptors show what they’re really made of

Leonard cranked his game into another gear, scoring 17 of his 37 points in the third quarter, while Lowry added 22 points to bounce back from a scoreless performance in Game 1, as the Toronto Raptors throttled the Orlando Magic 111-82 on Tuesday.

Lowry was in his usual rhythm, finishing with 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including two 3-point conversions.

The Raptors marketing mantra is "We The North" - a rallying cry that Canadian fans have seized upon and embraced. Flipping, primarily, DeRozan for Leonard was a tough pill to swallow, but it sent a message that the Raptors were willing to part with a star on a long-term deal for a superstar on an expiring contract, believing that they could convince Leonard to stick around and turn Toronto into a consistent contender. All-star centre Nicola Vucevic was limited to six points. Despite the win, early books opened Orlando at +8.5 for tonight's Game 2 - a number that immediately drew the attention of bettors. Game 2 was more of the same, a credit to the physicality and defence of Marc Gasol, who has looked to make things hard for the Magic's big man.

Aaron Gordon scored 20 points, Terrence Ross had 15 and Evan Fournier 10 for the Magic, who won Saturday's Game 1 104-101 on a tiebreaking 3 by D.J. Augustin with 4.2 seconds to go.

The Raptors kept Orlando off the scoreboard for the game's first four minutes, sprinting out to an 11-0 lead.

Toronto held Orlando to an anemic effective field goal percentage of 42.6, and surrendered only 21 attempts at the rim all game. "(Toronto) had something to do with it but we certainly didn't stick with the game and play the kind of basketball we've been playing lately". Leonard and Green had each picked up three fouls by midway through the second quarter, and the team had 15 by halftime. What followed was a a three-day waiting period in which the Raptors - Nick Nurse and Kyle Lowry in particular - absorbed body blows from every critic in the media, and that seemed to finally wake them up. And he didn't even really make any perimeter shots - I think he made one 17-footer. "We didn't feel like we played our best basketball in Game 1", he said.

Gordon and Ross were the only Orlando players putting up significant numbers, and the Raptors took a healthy 51-39 lead into the locker-room.

Thornton to have hearing for head shot
The latest National Hockey League playoff suspension has come down, and this time it's Joe Thornton on the receiving end. Forward Evander Kane was suspended for Game 2 previous year for a cross-check to the head of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

There have been hints of it all year, moments when Leonard displayed the range of his abilities, but this was him in full: unblockable fadeaways, slashing drives, the odd assist for good measure and his shutdown defence on the other end.

Leonard sparked Toronto's offensive storm with his third-quarter burst, and it was contagious.

The press conference table at the Raptors' practice facility was missing on Monday, and so the point guard took a seat and leaned back against a wall to address reporters, clutching the mic in one hand.

The Raptors fed off a sellout crowd of almost 20,000 at Scotiabank Arena that was loud and proud and turned this place into the most rocking, raucous Canadian venue since Rush played the Molson Amphitheater. He also finished with seven assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block for Toronto. Scotiabank Arena exploded with the excitement (decibel levels rivalled that of free pizza) when Lowry hit a free-throw in the first, and the night ended with Lowry getting a standing ovation as he checked out in the fourth. From the opening tip, they suffocated the Magic, not allowing Orlando to get on the board for almost five minutes of game time. In game ones he went to the charity stripe 22 times, making 14 of them. "Obviously, the offence is sticking out with 37, but just a much more locked-in defensive approach".

Augustin, who had 25 points Saturday, shot 1 for 6. And if everyone did not know, now they know, the Magic can win this series.

In a series of sentence fragments with little expression, Leonard verbally sketched the tactical decision-tree that empowered him, and the Raptors, to maintain control of a game in which they never trailed.

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