The Toronto Raptors have five takeaways in their 102-89 win over the Orlando Magic.
One – it was an unpleasant win for the Raptors who are now 11-2 in their last 13 games. There is an end to the magic standings, and although they defeated the Raptors last month, the situation was completely different since the Raptors lost several starters. The Raptors took the lead early on, but could not pull off well as Magic quietly moved to the top-five on the defensive rating since the All-Star break. Orlando made a push early in the fourth quarter, but Nick Nurse ended it by bringing back his starters to finish the job quickly. With a three-game lead against Cleveland, the Raptors are now back home for a four-game homestead to secure their place outside the play-in tournament.
Two – The Raptors once again won the game of possession, increasing their offense by turning 19 turnovers into 32 points. In the halfcourt, the Raptors were fairly isolated due to the size of the magic between Mo Bamba and Robin Lopez and fought to get into the paint, but they were able to consistently create leads by reversing the magic. Fred Vanvallit continues to lead the effort, forcing the Timberwolves to nine more turnovers in the game to put pressure on their final win at 11. Vanvilit was known for five thefts, but his other block against the Bumbar was to remove a lay-up and change possession, as well as detain a pair of drivers for travel violations. Vanvolit’s time and aggression are impeccable when it comes to catching up with a double team. Although his shooting percentage is low, his activity on the defensive end is the biggest driver of the team’s last two wins.
Three – The Raptors played their starters together for 30 minutes, the most used game of their entire season. This was the only team that worked, because they were lazy and confused whenever the second unit of the Raptors checked in. The Raptors won by 23 points in those 30 minutes, with Vanvalet’s five-member unit, Gary Trent Jr., Ozzy Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Scottie Barnes returning positive this year, ranking the Raptors in the plus-sixes in 345 minutes for the most used lineup. And if those numbers aren’t overwhelming but moderate, this game is a reminder that lineup data is often too noisy to reach a firm conclusion. In the win against Minnesota, the starting group was ineffective and the Nurses abandoned it in the second half, where with this victory, the Nurses secured the win by bringing back the starters for the last nine minutes of the fourth quarter. This game was one of the good nights, where the starters were all able to get their own offense and finish in double digits.
Four – Burns did everything before the strong outs closed. Burns shows more reluctance to shoot when the team is healthy, choosing to set the table, but he breaks that trend tonight. It was a remarkable attempt to score on the part of the Burns, whether it was attacking the glass, placing a hard screen and rolling on purpose, or even pulling over the jumper. In the last two games of the game, Burns looked at Siakam to attack Bamba outside the dribble, forcing a foul on a 7-foot shot-blocker. Then, on the next trip, Burns tore the bamba to explode for a two-handed dunk in the basket. Part of her intentions tonight may be to chuck out to family and friends at the Florida building, but that’s exactly what Nurse Burns has been asking all season. He finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists without turnover.
Five – Vanville is just three away from breaking Kyle Lowry’s franchise record for the most three in a single season. This may explain why Vanvolit was so aggressive with his shots, especially in the first half, as he finished the game with 16 attempts from the deep with five macs to keep himself within the striking range. As it happens, Vanvilit sees his ex-teammate on Sunday during Lori’s expected return to Toronto, where he can break the record considering how much he prioritizes snatching paint paint and how much zone coverage they can play. Vanvolit has attempted 36 threes in his last three games against Miami this season.