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For the Orlando Magic, it was a continuation of what’s gone on most of the second half of the season.
For the Toronto Raptors it was business as usual in the opener of a playoff series.
D.J. Augustin scored 25 points, including the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left, and the Magic beat the Raptors 104-101 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Saturday night. Kawhi Leonard got a final shot for Toronto, but missed the rim with his 3-pointer from the top of the circle.
DJ Augustin with the game-winning 3 in GM1 vs the Raptors!
DJ: 25 PTS (9-13 FG, 4-5 3PT), 6 AST
Kyle Lowry: 0 PTS (0-7 FG, 0-6 3PT), 8 AST pic.twitter.com/HjyFyCgzdp
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 13, 2019
Orlando went 22-9 in its final 31 games of the regular season.
Toronto is now 2-14 in Game 1s of a playoff series.
The Magic closed as 9.5-point underdog today, their biggest upset win in a playoff game in franchise history.
The Raptors are now 2-14 in Game 1s, the 2nd-worst record by any team in NBA history (min. 2 games). pic.twitter.com/Jqq7dE4nFc
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 14, 2019
“I think it helps,” first-year Magic coach Steve Clifford said of his team’s run through its final 31 games. “We’ve been playing games that we had to win and were meaningful games for a while.
“We made a bunch of big plays in the last three or four minutes.”
Nikola Vucevic scored 11 points and said Orlando’s stretch-drive success did in terms of mental preparation for the grind of the playoffs.
“Throughout this last month, we were able to fight through a lot of different adversity and it has kind of prepared us for the playoffs,” Vucevic said.
Aaron Gordon had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Evan Fournier scored 16 points and Jonathan Isaac had 11 for the seventh-seeded Magic.
Leonard led Toronto with 25 points, Pascal Siakam had 24 and Fred VanVleet had 14 for the second-seeded Raptors, who reclaimed the lead after trailing by 16 points in the second quarter, but couldn’t hold on down the stretch.
A big reason for that was point guard Kyle Lowry, who went scoreless, missing all seven shots he attempted, though he did finish with seven rebounds and eight assists. Danny Green and Marc Gasol had 11 points each for Toronto.
“We know who we are and this is one game,” Lowry said. “We’ve got to make sure we know who we are and execute what we can do. When we do what we are supposed to do, we are really, really good.”
Toronto coach Nick Nurse, making his playoff debut as a head coach, said Lowry will bounce back.
“He had some really good looks that he’s normally going to knock down,” Nurse said. “I’m sure he’ll bounce back and play a little better in the next game.”
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Toronto.