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Raptors 98, Magic 93

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Guard DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points and center Jonas Valanciunas added 20, leading the Toronto Raptors to a 98-93 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.

It was the third consecutive victory for the Raptors, who remain atop the Atlantic Division at 42-31, assured of their first playoff appearance since 2008.

DeRozan was steady at the free-throw line, making 15 of his 16 attempts. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry had 16 points, including nine in the decisive fourth quarter.

The Magic were led by center Nikola Vucevic, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds. It was his third consecutive 20-point game. Reserve guard Victor Oladipo contributed 16 points.

Magic guard Arron Afflalo, who averages a team-high 19.1 points, didn’t score his first point until midway in the third quarter Sunday night. He finished with eight.

After trailing by as many as 21 points early in the second half, the Magic tied the game at 76 on a 3-pointer by Oladipo and tied it again at 80 on a basket by center Dewayne Dedmon. Orlando never led in the second half.

After the tie at 80, the Raptors went on a 11-2 run, which included seven points by Lowry. The Magic pulled within 96-93 with 8.9 seconds left and had possession, but they failed to inbound the ball before a five-second violation was called.

DeRozan hit two free throws with five seconds remaining to ice the victory.

The Raptors dominated early in the third quarter, but the Magic cut the deficit to seven later in the period. The Raptors led 73-64 going into the fourth.

The Raptors scored 30 points in the second quarter to open a 57-38 lead at intermission. Valanciunas had 16 points by halftime in just 16 minutes. Vucevic had 18 points and six rebounds in the first two periods.

The Magic led 22-21 early, but the Raptors ended the first period with a 6-0 run and dominated the rest of the half. The Magic made only five of 18 shots in the second quarter and missed all seven of their 3-point shots in the first half.

Raptors reserve guard Greivis Vasquez needed five stitches to close a cut below his eye when he was hit in the face early in the game by Dedmon. He returned in the second half, and he finished with five points.

NOTES: The Raptors are headed to the playoffs, but coach Dwane Casey said Sunday there would be no move to reduce the amount of playing time for his starters in the rest of the regular season. “We’re still fighting for playoff position,” Casey said. … All-Star G DeMar DeRozan appeared Sunday in his 375th game for the Raptors since the team’s last playoff appearance. … Raptors reserve F Patrick Patterson is expected to play Monday in Miami after missing his 13th consecutive game Sunday with a right arm injury. … In both earlier meetings this season, the Magic lost by 15 points to the Raptors, shooting 41 percent and 33 percent from the field. … Toronto prevented the Magic from posting their third three-game winning streak of the season. … Despite averaging just 32.5 minutes per game, Magic PG Jameer Nelson came into the night eighth in the NBA in assists (6.9 per game). He had four assists Sunday in the first seven minutes of the game.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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