A dominant performance by Kawhi Leonard and a much better one by Kyle Lowry has the Toronto Raptors back on even ground in their opening-round NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic.
Leonard scored 37 points, 17 alone in a third-quarter explosion, and Lowry, who went scoreless in series opener, had 22 to lead the Raptors to a 111-82 thumping of the Magic on Tuesday, Apr. 16, at Scotiabank Arena.
The best-of-seven series, tied 1-1, will now head to Orlando for Game 3 on Friday.
It was a huge bounce-back game for a Raptors team that dropped the opener, 104-101, three nights ago.
Toronto took command right from the start this time and never looked back. They jumped out to 26-18 lead and topped the Magic in every remaining quarter, including a dominant third when they put up 39 points.
“It wasn’t flipping the switch, it was more just being locked in on every coverage and everything we wanted to do,” Lowry said of Toronto’s strong start in the post-game press conference. “Just being on the same page and communication. Making sure we helped each other. . . It was just basically making sure we just play hard.”
Leonard was every bit the star the Raptors hoped he would be when they pulled off the blockbuster deal to acquire him from San Antonio last summer, especially in the third when he helped Toronto build a comfortable 90-66 lead heading into the final quarter.
“He’s really good,” Lowry said of Leonard. “He’s a talented basketball player. He’s been aggressive all series a couple of games so far and tonight he was just in a groove, getting down hill, getting to his spots.
“He’s a player he knows where he wants to be on a floor and when he gets to those spots it’s pretty tough to guard him.”
Pascal Siakam had a strong game with19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, while Serge Ibaka added 13 points.
Aaron Gordon led the Magic with 20 points.
Tip off Friday is 7 p.m.