TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors fell into some old, bad habits against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, falling behind before coming back with a late surge.
As they have so far this season, and they came away with a hard-fought 104-100 victory on clutch free throws in the final two minutes by guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
The Raptors, who entered the fourth quarter trailing by 11 points, have won five games in a row and are off to a franchise best start of 7-1.
“We can’t be playing like that,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “I mean, Orlando outplayed us for three quarters. I liked the resolve of our team we showed and the second unit came in and did what they were supposed to do and really competed.”
Lowry led the Raptors with 19 points and seven assists and forward Terrence Ross scored 17 points with DeRozan chipping in with 16. Guard Lou Williams scored 14 coming off the bench with eight coming in the fourth quarter. Forwards Patrick Patterson and Amir Johnson had 12 each. Forward James Johnson picked up 10 rebounds and six points in 21 minutes for Toronto.
“I think you give their second unit a lot of credit for climbing back in, whether it was Lou Williams or Patterson,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Their ability to ignite and have some energy and climb back into the basketball game.”
The Magic’s last win over the Raptors was March 26, 2012.
“They made shots, you’ve got to give them credit, too, they made some tough plays, they played smart and were very aggressive defensively,” said guard Evan Fournier who led the Magic with 24 points. “We played great for three quarters. (In the fourth) they pressured us defensively and we kind of took too many dribbles and got excited a little bit.”
Forward Tobias Harris had 23 points, forward Channing Frye had 19 points and center Nikola Vucevic contributed 18 for the Magic.
The Raptors scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 83.
Fournier hit a 3-pointer with 2:21 to play to give the Magic a 98-97 lead.
The Raptors took a 101-98 lead with 1:05 left when DeRozan and Lowry each made two free throws.
The Magic (2-6) cut the lead to one and had the ball, but Fournier missed a jumper, giving the Raptors the ball with 22 seconds left.
Patterson made one of two free throws to give Toronto a two-point lead with 11.8 seconds left. The Magic failed to score on their possession with Harris missing a 10-foot jump shot before fouling out in the final second. Ross made two free throws to end the game.
“Those guys are playing hard and they are shooting the 3-ball extremely well.” Lowry said. “Channing Frye came out and did his thing and Evan Fournier played well. We held Nikola Vucevic under control but that team is coming together.”
The Magic played much better than they did in losing to Toronto 108-95 on Nov. 1.
“They came out firing,” Ross said. “Their offense was flowing and they were getting stops. It was almost a different team.”
The Magic, who led by nine points going into the second half, got nine points from Harris in the first five minutes of the third quarter to open an 11-point lead. When Fournier made both of his free throws at the end of the third quarter, Orlando’s lead was 83-72.
Williams scored six points and Patterson had five to lead the Toronto surge that tied the game early in the fourth quarter. Fournier’s 3-pointer put the Magic back on top. Williams scored and Patterson made a 3-pointer to give the Raptors a 90-88 lead.
Vucevic tied it with a turnaround hook shot with 6:06 to play. The Magic took a 95-92 lead on a 3-pointer by Frye and Ross tied it with a 3.
Frye scored 11 of Orlando’s first 13 points of the game, going 3-for-3 from 3-point range. The Magic led by as many as nine points in the first quarter despite missing their first four free throws. Frye scored the final basket of the first quarter to give him 13 points and the Magic a 32-24 lead.
The Magic opened an 11-point lead during the second quarter and led 60-51 at the half.
NOTES: There is no timetable for the return of Magic G Victor Oladipo (facial fracture) but there is a possibility that he could play his first game of the season on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Amway Centre. He has been practicing with a protective mask. … The Raptors wore camouflage uniforms to commemorate Remembrance Day. The uniforms are not new to the Raptors, but the sleeves were a first for them. “I’m game for anything,” coach Dwane Casey said. “I’m about winning. If we win with ’em, we can wear bikinis if we have to.” … The Magic will visit the New York Knicks on Wednesday. … The Raptors’ next game will be Thursday against the Chicago Bulls, the fourth of a seven-game home stand.
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