A Brief History of Kyle Lowry and Game Two

A Brief History of Kyle Lowry and Game Two

He left the game to a standing ovation, just as Leonard did.

Terrance Ross #31 of the Orlando Magic dribbles the ball as Jeremy Lin #17 of the Toronto Raptors defends during the first half of an National Basketball Association game at Scotiabank Arena on February 24, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

Raptors fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.

The Raptors at their best, though? "We did a great job of executing the game plan for the get go and we played with good energy".

Three nights after a 104-101 upset by Orlando in Game 1, the Raptors roared back with a vengeance, controlling the game from the opening tip off, smothering the Magic on the defensive end like Saran Wrap.

"It was just more being locked in on every coverage, everything we wanted to do, just being on the same page and communication", Lowry said. That's how it should be for the remainder of the series - play the best lineups so you can rest instead of resting until your best lineups are needed. As an example, Gasol orchestrated two gorgeous possessions from the top of the floor: the first when he darted a bounce pass to Lowry on a baseline basket cut for an easy layup in the second quarter, the next a fluttering lob to Leonard for an alley-oop and-1 just after intermission.

The Magic needed garbage time scoring to break 80, failing to keep up with the Raptors' high-flying offence in Game 2.

Leonard scored 12 points in the opening quarter as the Raptors led 26-18 after one. The Raptors took a 90-66 lead into the fourth.

The Magic, who matched Toronto's 22-9 record down the stretch to make the playoffs, are expecting the Raptors to come out swinging on Tuesday. The Raptors' veteran center, acquired midseason from the Memphis Grizzlies, posted a 3-for-5 shooting line in 22 minutes - every make was from deep - but that belied his overall net effect. Lowry shot the technical to put Toronto up by 33 points. "He was doing it all", added Nick Nurse.

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In sum, Lowry was held scoreless on a night when he missed all seven of his shot attempts? Lowry missed his first, but made the second.

Orlando didn't score for nearly five minutes to start the game, missing its first six shot attempts and four straight free throws.

"Tonight he was in a groove", Lowry said. He was charging up the floor, pushing the ball, passing, shooting, driving, kicking, made steals, hands on everything, rebounded.

If Kyle Lowry had played in Toronto's final game of the regular season, would his shot still have been M.I.A. against Orlando? Norman Powell's jumper had the lead at 34 with 2:51 remaining.

Leonard, who'd been expected to crank his game up a notch when the playoffs tipped off, was brilliant on Tuesday, drawing delighted gasps from the sold-out Scotiabank Arena crowd of 19,964, and when he drew a foul for a three-point play in a third quarter in which he mercilessly punished the Magic, the crowd chanted "M-V-P!"

In the intervening days between Games 1 and 2, the Raptors' players and staff emphasized the need to decongest a long Orlando defense that afforded them no half-court elbow room in Saturday's loss. So that's why the mental game doesn't really matter. Seven of his nine points came at the free throw line.

With Toronto's two big men more equally sharing the five-spot minutes in this game, Serge Ibaka contributed 13 points and eight boards, while Gasol had nine points (three three-pointers), three rebounds and five assists. "We were not the team tonight that we've been".

His Orlando counterpart, Steve Clifford, gave an explanation before Game 2 of his approach to the use of star players, and though it certainly wasn't intended as advice for Nurse, it might as well have been.

The Raptors kept Orlando off the scoreboard for the game's first four minutes, sprinting out to an 11-0 lead.

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