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Raptors maintain mastery over Magic

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TORONTO -The Toronto Raptors have the Orlando Magic’s number.

And that number is 10 after the Raptors defeated the Magic 95-82 on Monday night. The Raptors have defeated the Magic 10 straight times, including three this season.

The Magic led by eight points at the half, but the Raptors soon erased that and took over the game by outscoring the Magic 27-13 in the third quarter.

“Boy they made it tough on us,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. “What did we score, 30 in the [second] half? You’re not going to win too many games that way unless they score 29.”

“We just came out more aggressive and played our game,” said Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 17 points and added eight assists. “We knew that we let the lead get away in the first quarter and the first half. We knew that we could get it back, but we had to keep our intensity up.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey credited Lowry with getting his team headed in the right direction.

“He set the tone in the first five minutes of the third quarter and that’s what you’re going to have to do if you’re serious about winning and that’s what he did,” Casey said of Lowry, who had eight points and five assists in the third quarter. “He came in and set the tone defensively, he set the tone offensively by being in the attack mode and everybody just kind of followed suit. That’s what you have to have from your leader.”

Guard Lou Williams came off the bench to score 18 points to lead the Raptors’ scoring. Forward Amir Johnson scored 11 points, and reserve forward Patrick Patterson added 10. Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas had a team-high eight rebounds and scored six points.

“We can’t get caught up in whoever made the shot, we have to get caught up in playing our team basketball and just playing the way that we played in their first half,” said forward Tobias Harris, who led the Magic with 18 points. “It’s disappointing because we played such great basketball in the first half, especially in the second quarter.”

Reserve guard Ben Gordon added 16 for the Magic, and center Nikola Vucevic finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Guard Victor Oladipo had 12 points, and guard Evan Fournier scored 11 points despite leaving the game in the second quarter for stitches for a cut lip. Fournier returned to action in the third quarter.

The Raptors (19-6) scored the first seven points of the third quarter, five by Lowry, to cut an eight-point Magic halftime lead to one. A 3-pointer by Toronto forward Terrence Ross tied the game at 56-56, and a layup by guard Landry Fields gave the Raptors a 60-58 lead. The Raptors were on top 71-65 after three quarters.

Patterson hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter for a nine-point lead that the Magic (10-17) soon cut to two points. The Raptors went on a 12-0 run that was finished by guard Greivis Vasquez, making the score 86-72 with six minutes to play.

The Raptors led by as many as 10 points before settling for a 28-25 lead after the first quarter, led by Lowry’s five points and three assists.

Fournier was helped from the court with 6:43 to play in the second quarter with a towel to a lacerated lip.

After the injury, apparently from an elbow thrown by Toronto reserve forward Tyler Hansbrough, the Magic went on a 10-0 run to take a 46-42 lead. Orlando did not let up, and it finished the first half leading 52-44. Harris had 14 first-half points and Gordon had 11. Williams led Toronto with 10 first-half points.

NOTES: Raptors C Jonas Valanciunas led the Eastern Conference last week when he averaged 13.5 rebounds in four games. “He’s done an extra-special job of rebounding, and that’s what we need from him, to go get it,” coach Dwane Casey said. Valanciunas also averaged 13.5 points, while shooting 55.6 percent (20-for-56). … Magic G Victor Oladipo played Monday, but was out with a facial fracture (Oct. 28-Nov. 12) and missed the first two meetings, which the Raptors won. The Raptors overcame an 11-point disadvantage after three quarters to win 104-100 on Nov. 11 at Air Canada Centre. … The Raptors are home to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, while the Magic visit the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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