Raptors are onto the conference semifinals with 115-96 rout of Orlando

Thursday, 25 Apr, 2019

Kyle Lowry got the Toronto Raptors going with the team's first nine points, and Kawhi Leonard finished with 27 as the Toronto Raptors throttled Orlando 115-96 on Tuesday, to dispatch the Magic in record time.

Aaron Gordon leads the Magic with just 16.3 PPG, but Orlando has four other players averaging double figures, while only PG Kyle Lowry joins Leonard and Siakam in averaging 10 or more points for Toronto.

After Twitter went viral following Drake's attendance for Game 4 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins - which the Leafs lost - you can imagine the Toronto native wanted nothing more than to exorcise those demons.

This year's squad led start to finish in Tuesday's Game 5, giving not the slightest suggestion a return trip to Orlando for Game 6 was even remotely possible.

Part of the team's success can (and should) be attributed to the steady hand of Clifford.

The game was all but sealed by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, with the Raptors owning a lead as big as 37 points. Fortunately for the organization, Clifford is on track to be on the bench when the 2019-20 season commences but, from a roster standpoint, there is some uncertainty.

Lowry scored Toronto's first nine points and had 12 in the opening quarter. But work with me on this: Leonard was the best player in terms of reputation going into this series.

The Magic are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Tuesday games, 17-6-1 ATS in their last 24 vs. NBA Atlantic and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.

Toronto will face Philadelphia in the second after the 76ers eliminated Brooklyn Tuesday. "But they're big all over".

"I think our focus was to try to get out and put a stamp on the game from the defensive end, and I think we did that", Nurse said.

Kyle Lowry scored 14 points as the Raptors finished off the Magic easily, bouncing back from a Game 1 defeat to win by double-digits in three of the next four. "With that in our mind we just want to go out there and leave it on the floor".

Siakam and Leonard confounded once again with their three-point shooting and unsolvable moves to the hoop. But, for the first time in a long time, we might get a chance to test that theory out here.

Lowry has been criticized for performances in the postseason throughout his career. He returned to play but went back to the locker room with 2:41 remaining in the first half. "I popped it back in". He was grateful for the upcoming rest days.

To put it simply, Leonard has been a force on both ends against the Magic, earning some high praise from former National Basketball Association big man Kendrick Perkins, who said this week that Kawhi's game is giving him some Michael Jordan flashbacks. "Maybe as good as I've ever seen him".

It's been a common theme for the Raptors all season: Keep the ball moving and pass up "good" shots for "great" shots. Vucevic scored his first basket at 9:54 of the third, when Orlando trailed by 26.

Lead a team. Play his guts out.

"He was incredible in this series", Nurse said. The fans closed out the night in standing ovation for their advancing Raptors.

They played meaningful games down the stretch of the regular season, clinching a postseason berth in game 81 of the 82-game schedule.