ImageBeing the home team offered the Orlando Magic (32-37) no advantages against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. Toronto never trailed en route to their 109-99 stomping of the Magic. That win concludes the season series sweep for the Raptors against what projects to be their first round match-up. The Raptors record is now 49-18. The Raptors sit as the second seed, 5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks (55-14) while they push ahead of the Boston Celtics (45-23) by 4.5 games.

First Round Freebie

As their 8 game win streak against Orlando suggests, Toronto has dominated the match-up. The Raptors have made scoring a tall task for the Magic. The Magic have yet to score in the triple digits when facing ‘The North’. Their average of 93.5 points against the Toronto defence is an outlandish 13.5 points lower than their average on the season. While they play adequate defence, there are no otherworldly offensive threats on Orlando. Their premier offensive player, Nikola Vucevic has made no impact when pitted against the likes of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. The Raptors defensive big men have limited Vucevic to 6.7 points a game.

All things considered, despite the Magic being able to compete against the Raptors defensively, they have posed no offensive threat. Things look even more grim for Orlando with Jonathan Issac out with an ACL tear.  A 4-1 series in the Raptors favour is a generous projection.

ImageThe Raptors Bench Revitalized

This game was just what Toronto’s bench needed in order to get the ball rolling again. Their 40 point performance is a welcome sight after two lacklustre outings. Serge Ibaka was once again terrific. Ibaka produced a near double-double off the bench with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Norman Powell had the Raptors’ bench high with 14 points, shooting 50% from the field. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was in attack mode. Though he only shot 40% from the field, his relentless attack on the basket earned him 4 free-throws. He finished with 7 points in the contest.

Steady Starters

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Though the bench showed signs of life, the starters for Toronto dominated. Fred VanVleet had the hot hand again, pouring in 21 points on 61.5% (8/13) shooting. Marc Gasol was able to get to his spots and pour in an efficient 13 points. Despite a poor shooting performance, Kyle Lowry showed his versatility and flirted with a triple-double, scoring 8 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and dishing out 10 assists. Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby produced 15 points and 12 points respectively.

Up Next for the Raptors

Toronto hops out of the kiddie pool and into the deep end on Friday as they match-up against the Boston Celtics at 9PM/EST. The Raptors look to extend their win streak to 8 games and tie-up the season series against their division rivals. The Celtics need this win to have a prayer of a chance at the second seed. While Boston’s three headed monster poses their own set of problems, the defensive minded Raptors have shown to be able to handle it. Tune in tonight to indulge in what projects to be an exciting match-up.