It was their elite defence that lifted the Toronto Raptors over the Orlando Magic 90-83 in their final meeting of the season. The Raptors were able to claim wins in all three contests and Toronto secured their second series sweep this season. This is Toronto’s seventh consecutive win against Orlando going back to the first round of last season’s playoffs. Toronto’s season win streak grows to 6 games and their 14-4 record leaves them ranked second in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Milwaukee Bucks.

Raptors Struggle In The First-Half

Toronto struggled mightily when it came to shooting the ball throughout the first 24 minutes. The Raptors shot 31% from the field and 21% from beyond the arc. It was the abhorrent 38% from the free throw line that truly highlighted how poorly the team shot during the half. The Raptors had plenty of open looks, but the shots simply failed to fall early in the game. This poor showing lead to the Raptors producing a season-low 40 points in the first half.

Toronto Raptor Norman Powell
Raptor Norman Powell floating in two of his career-high 33 points

Norman Powell Explodes

Norman Powell stole the show in the third quarter. His 19 point explosion in the frame  came on 77.8% shooting from the field and 75% shooting from beyond the arc. His magic alone topped Orlando’s 12 point third quarter and put Toronto firmly in the driver’s seat for the rest of the game. Overall, Powell scored a career-high 33 points in the game. An extremely timely performance as the Raptors shot a season-low 36.9% from the field.

Defensive Tenacity

Such a poor offensive performance lead to defence being the main focus and Toronto absolutely thrived. The Raptors were exceptionally relentless in their defensive effort, playing their best defensive game of the season. The team’s season-high 16 steals were lead by Fred VanVleet who swiped a career-high 7 in the contest. The steal total contributed to a season-high 22 turnovers forced by the Raptors and Orlando’s 27 made field goals and 7 made threes are a new season low for any team facing the Raptors this season.

The Raptors return to Scotiabank Arena for their next game against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. This will be the first game of an extremely tough stretch that will see Toronto facing teams all above .500. Tune in at 6:00 PM/EST for what is sure to be a fantastic match.