LOS ANGELES, USA – Nikola Vucevic tallied 30 points and 20 rebounds as the Orlando Magic swatted the Toronto Raptors off their lofty perch with a 116-87 victory on Friday, December 28 (Saaturday, December 29, Manila time).
The Raptors came into the game with the best record in the NBA but dropped to 26-11 on the season to fall a couple percentage points back of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Magic led by as many as 31 points in the 3rd quarter as they outscored Toronto 51-16 in a 16-minute span that began in the 2nd quarter.
DJ Augustin had 17 points and 6 assists for Orlando, who snapped a five-game losing skid to the Raptors to climb to 15-19.
The Magic finished with 5 players in double-figure scoring and outrebounded Toronto 60-41.
“It’s a strange one. I think if it started that way you would think ‘Oh, you didn’t come ready to play,’ but we were really sharp and moving the ball and popping it around and had a nice lead and probably should have had a bigger lead if we would have made more of our opportunities,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said.
“And then the thing just turned and we never really could get stops and we couldn’t finish at the rim very well. Just was a really poor night for all of us.”
@NikolaVucevic fills up the stat sheet with 30 PTS, 20 REB, 8 AST in the @OrlandoMagic home victory! #PureMagic pic.twitter.com/rjKhN5zoS1— NBA (@NBA) December 29, 2018
Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points for the Raptors, who suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season.
Toronto played their second game without injured all-star Kyle Lowry. He has played only once since December 12 due to a back injury.
Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 8 rebounds for Toronto, who shot just 29.5 percent from the floor in the final game of their three-game road trip.
“This is a big boy’s league. These nights happen,” Raptors Fred VanVleet said. “We’re not the first team to lose like this. We bounce back. We’ve got a championship-calibre team. We’ll be alright.”
Vucevic scored 12 points during a 21-6 run late in the first half that gave the Magic to a nine-point lead.
Augustin scored a half dozen consecutive points during a third-quarter burst that pushed Orlando’s lead to 68-51.
After making 8 of their first 12 shots, the Raptors took a 19-9 lead. But Toronto made just 11 of its next 51 shots, until Leonard dunked late in the 3rd quarter with Orlando leading 91-60.
In Phoenix, Russell Westbrook scored 15 of his season-high 40 points in the final 7 minutes and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Phoenix Suns 118-102. – Rappler.com
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