Orlando Magic is an enigma. The designation has nothing to do with a complex scheme that coach Steve Clifford has put in place, nor with a cumbersome analytical approach for selecting undervalued free agents that d & # 39; other teams would ignore. No, magic is an enigma simply because it makes no sense to see how this collection of players that will inevitably appear in a future episode of Let's Remember Some Guys aa) created the playoffs as anything other than # 39; an eighth seed; and b) taken part of the road against the Toronto Raptors.
And yet, it has happened! The Magic beat the Raptors in Toronto, 104-101, to win the first game of this seven-game playoff series. Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors scoring with 25 points on 10 shots out of 18, and DJ Augustin led the Magic with the same total of 9 points out of 13. Just as the teams are struggling to stop Leonard's NBA talents in defense, the Raptors – for whatever reason – were not able to find a way to smother Augustine's abilities before the second half. But before that, however, he seemed to read every defense that Toronto cast him like a labyrinth at the bottom of a restaurant's children's menu. He knew exactly where to go and how to get rid of the defenders. If it did not work, he would find a teammate open for a shot or he would hand it over to another ball handler to arrange another game that would end in three.
Of all the shots he made in the first half, only one of them was really indicative of a potentially crazy night – the one he took less than five years at the time. first quarter with a shooting time ending with a difficult defense. Otherwise, there were no Steph Curry launches from the half-court and there was no hard drive out of hell that scared the big men, like those of which Russell Westbrook is famous. Instead, the rest of his plans were methodical and fundamentally sound. He was in the right place at the right time, and he always knew when to call his own number. The results of this consistency appeared on the dashboard.
But part of what also helped Augustin and the rest of the Magic band is that the Raptors could not figure out how to tackle Orlando's style of play before the start of the third quarter. In simple terms, they could not follow each side of the ground. In defense, this has been shown in the form passes that have not even been intercepted by a racing defender. In attack, the slow reconciliations of the quick shooters showed how much the Raptors had been lost. Meanwhile, Orlando knew perfectly how to face Toronto and this difference led to the 15-point race that forced the Magic to end the first half (he also carried the ball to Orlando with 48.3% late on the back).
There is also an argument that some form of nervousness from the first match could happen to the Raptors. It's often hard to ignore the local environment when you're at home, and this environment often has nerves based on years of disappointment – Toronto is now 2-14 in Game 1. Of course, the Raptors have a new superstar and many other new faces, but if fans just emit nervous energy, they will end up seducing those players at home, no matter how long they spend on the team. Do not believe me? Just look at the similarities between the defeats: Kyle Lowry was abominable (0 points on a shot from 0 to 7), "the other star" was not good enough and the defense collapsed in the foreground.
Nevertheless, a good part of the credit must go to Augustine and magic. They had no control over the tremors mentioned earlier, but their playing style at both ends of the ground smothered the Raptors between the weight of the nerves of a city and a team that wanted to trample them to death. The mistakes inevitably had to happen, they occurred at the worst possible moment. Someone like Augustine was perhaps unaware of this phenomenon, but he certainly played well enough to exploit it and ensured that Toronto could never stop it. , at least for this match.