LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Fred VanVleet scored 21 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to their seventh consecutive win, a 109-99 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
The Raptors (49-18) improved to 3-0 in the NBA restart at the Walt Disney World bubble, moved closer to clinching second in the Eastern Conference, and swept the season series (4-0) against Orlando.
Six Raptors scored in double figures. Pascal Siakam had 15 points, Norm Powell finished with 14, Marc Gasol had 13, OG Anunoby chipped in with 12 and Serge Ibaka added 11.
Kyle Lowry had a rough 2-for-9 shooting night, but narrowly missed a triple double with eight points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.
Two nights after his career-high 36 points against Miami, VanVleet added 10 assists.
Evan Fournier and former Raptor Terrence Ross had 15 points apiece to lead the Magic (32-37), who lost Jonathan Isaac for the rest of the season when he tore his ACL against Sacramento.
The Raptors led by 24 points in the first half but the Magic came out far more aggressive from the halftime break, and sliced the difference to just seven points early in the fourth quarter.
Orlando's burst was short-lived and by the time Siakam connected from long distance with 3:54 to play, the Raptors were back up by 15.
Some sloppy play down the stretch by Toronto allowed Orlando back within nine, but that was as close as the Magic would come.
The Raptors knocked off Orlando in the first round of the playoffs last year, losing the series opener and rebounding to win four straight in what coach Nick Nurse has credited as perhaps the defining games of their historic championship run.
The Raptors could face the Magic in the playoffs again in Orlando's backyard. Toronto would technically be the home team, and while a fanless arena in the NBA's bubble might not seem like much of a home-court advantage, Nurse isn't so sure.
Nurse said the NBA has been tweaking the in-game experience, and he likes the results.
“They're learning things about how to put the game on in this setting. . . and who knows what it'll evolve to here two months from now. So I don't want to discount the home court thing quite yet,” Nurse said before tipoff.
“It felt very quiet during the scrimmages. It's getting less quiet. There's crowd noise, you can see family members and coaches' family members and players' family members (on the giant video screen), there is a sense of personal touch to it. And there's also a lot more noise . . . when you're saying things, it's crowd noise and music that's feeling more familiar.”
On Wednesday, Gasol got it going early, spinning to the hoop for the game's first basket and then scoring six of the Raptors' first eight points. A three-pointer by Powell late in the first quarter put Toronto up by 16, and the Raptors led 26-11 heading into the second.
The Raptors maintained a double-digit advantage for most of the second quarter, and when Anunoby drove to the basket late in the frame it put Toronto up by 23 points. A Siakam free throw made it a 24-point lead, and the Raptors went into the halftime break up 55-35.
Looking more like a team fighting for a playoff spot, the Magic came out of the break with a 12-2 run capped by a Terrence Ross three-pointer that pulled Orlando to within 10. Wes Iwundu's three sliced the difference to just seven late in the quarter, and Toronto led 78-68 with one quarter to play.
The Raptors play the Boston Celtics on Friday in their fourth of eight seeding-round games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 5, 2020.