Ghastly defence and a sputtering offense by the visiting Toronto Raptors, topped with a 43 point first period explosion by home team Orlando Magic and game 1 was all but over after the first 12 minutes.
Orlando opened the game by shooting an insane 9-11 from the 3-point range and even though Toronto had a respectable 23 points on the board, they found themselves in a hole, down by 20 at the end of the first quarter.
Dwight Howard was huge for the Magic and poured in 25 points, had 22 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. A 59% free throw shooter on the season, perhaps his most important & impressive stat was that he shot 9-11 from the line today, including making his first 8.
Orlando got valuable contributions from all their starters including 24 points and 7 assists from Jameer Nelson and 21 points, 6 rebounds & 6 assists from Hedo Turkoglu.
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell made a surprise by inserting Andrea Bargnani into the starting line-up, but the move had no significant impact and Bargnani finished with only 5 points and 3 rebounds. Jason Kapono came off the bench and had 18 points and at one stage, the Raptors pulled to within 5 points early in the last quarter, but they would get no closer. In the end the 14 point margin flattered the Raptors.
Game 2 goes Tuesday night in Orlando. If the Raptors are to have any chance in that one, they are going to have to make huge improvements at the defensive end, as Orlando's shooters got far too many wide open, unchallenged looks in game 1. The Raptors can at least take some confidence from the fact that they got to the free throw line 28 times, making all but one. Chris Bosh leading the way going a perfect 13-13.
Knicks Morning News (2017.04.23)
3 hours ago