Magic look to press their advantage over Raptors
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The visiting Orlando Magic will try to press their advantage when they play the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday night.
The Magic won the opener of the best-of-seven series 104-101 on Saturday when D.J. Augustin made a 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds left, after he had tied the game with a layup.
Losing Game 1 in the playoffs is nothing new to the Raptors, who are 1-10 in the openers of first-round series in franchise history and 2-14 in Game 1 of any postseason series. Their only Game 1 win in a first-round series came last year against the Washington Wizards.
Although they are the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Raptors are No. 2, the Magic cannot be taken lightly.
After Jan. 31, Orlando had a record of 22-9 (.710) in the regular season. Only the Houston Rockets (24-8, .750) and Milwaukee Bucks (24-9, .727) had a better winning percentage in the NBA during that time.
"These last few months, especially since after All-Star break, I think we have one of the best records in the NBA," said Augustin, who scored 25 points Saturday. "It's just a mindset that we came in with. Our goal was to make the playoffs, and just not make it, we want to make noise and win a series or two. We feel like we can, we believe in ourselves, coach believes in us and I feel like that's all we need to get some good wins and build momentum."
The Raptors and Magic split their season series 2-2, with each team winning once on the road.
"We had good stretches of defense, but we just didn't have enough of those," said Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who scored 24 points and added nine rebounds and four assists. "They have a lot of length. We understood that coming to the game. We missed a lot of open shots. A lot of them went in and out. We wish we had a couple of those but that's the game. We understand that and we just have to do a better job."
Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry did not score in Game 1, although he had seven rebounds and eight assists.
"I don't think they did anything special (on Lowry)," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "I think he had some really good looks, you know, that he is normally going to knock down. We need to get him involved a little bit offensively, and we need some points from him. ... He was still impacting the game greatly."
Orlando shot 48.3 percent (14 of 29) from 3-point range, including 8 of 15 in the first half. The Magic outscored the Raptors 32-19 in the second quarter.
Orlando knows there is room for improvement in Game 2.
"As (the Raptors) picked up their ball pressure and their passing lane pressure in the second half, they had stretches where they had us so pushed out and it was really a struggle in the third quarter to run offense and that we have to be better with," Magic coach Steve Clifford said.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 16, 2019