Oladipo, Magic Stun Undefeated Raptors

By on November 7, 2015

magicORLANDO, Fla – The Magic (2-4) upset the previously undefeated Toronto Raptors (5-1) on Friday by a score of 92-87. Playing without their most efficient scorer Nikola Vucevic (51% shooting), the Magic focused on defense – holding Toronto to 34% shooting on the night.

Orlando looked like a different team without Vucevic (knee) in the starting lineup. The fourth leading scorer on the team at 15.8 points per game, Vooch led the Magic to the top of the NBA in points in the paint per game this season.

His replacement was Dewayne Dedmon, a rim protector out of USC that averages 1.75 blocks per game despite playing only 16.5 minutes. Dedmon embraced his role early, sending Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry’s shot into the stands to thunderous applause. Dedmon finished with three blocks on the day, two of those coming in the first quarter.

Orlando opened the game with a stifling defense, holding the normally high-scoring Raptors to 15 points on 17% shooting in the first quarter. Toronto looked out of sorts offensively, missing the few open shots that were given. Though the Raptors’ shooting improved in the second quarter, they still made just 23% of their shots in the first half.

After controlling most of the first half, the tone of the game shifted almost instantly when the third quarter started. The Raptors entered the period down 38-45, but quickly scored seven in a row to tie the game. Toronto would outscore the Magic 33-19 in the third quarter, erasing their early offensive woes and putting the Magic in catch-up mode.

“It was disgusting,” said Magic coach Scott Skiles on his team’s third quarter performance, “we have a nine point lead, we’re having a pretty good game and we just came out with absolutely nothing.”

Skiles used a quick hook on his starters after the early run, employing a platoon substitution to stop the bleeding. Starting point guard Elfrid Payton played only 15 minutes in the game, fewer than backup CJ Watson, rookie Mario Hezonja, and former UConn star Shabazz Napier. Payton finished with a -17 plus/minus and did not score a single point.

After the lopsided third quarter, the Magic were down 64-69 and poised for another dramatic fourth. When the dust settled, Toronto had the ball trailing 87-88 with 23 seconds left in the game.

The Raptors fed the ball to shooting guard Demar Derozan, who had a game-high 23 points. Derozan started to attack the lane, but fumbled it forward as he drove. The ball ended up bouncing between Raptors, finally settling in he hands of center Jonas Valanciunas, who missed a close shot with five seconds left on the clock.

Magic shooting guard Victor Oladipo then grabbed the defensive rebound and sprinted across the court, forcing a clear path foul by Toronto guard Corey Joseph. The foul meant that Orlando had a one point lead with two free throws and possession regardless of their outcome. This heads-up play by Oladipo extinguished any hope of a Raptor comeback.

“I’m putting that on me,” said Derozan, reflecting on the Raptors’ final possession, “I just watched it three times and I should have shot the ball. It is my fault.”

Orlando improved to 2-4 with Friday’s win, and look to make it a streak as they hit the road this weekend. The Magic will play the 76ers on Saturday, and the Pacers on Monday before returning home against the Lakers and Jazz. These four teams combine for a 7-14 record so far.

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