The Orlando Magic traveled north to Toronto for a showdown against the second best team in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors, who have one of the most dynamic backcourts in the league with All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, presented a big challenge to the young, less-experienced Magic team.
The Magic did have the advantage of playing a depleted Toronto team, who were without guard Cory Joseph, center Jonas Valanciunas and forward DeMarre Carroll. Orlando wasn’t without its own injuries as center Nick Vucevic and guard C.J. Watson did not play due to a groin injury and an undisclosed illness respectively.
These injuries led to some bench players for both teams rising to the occasion. Bismack Biyombo recorded an impressive stat line of 12 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks while Magic forward Andrew Nicholson had 15 points to go with nine rebounds in only 21 minutes off the bench.
The game was close throughout, with the Magic holding a two point lead at the half. The game came down to the wire, with Magic forward Evan Fournier cutting the Raptor lead down to one with 1:11 left in the game.
Free throws would end up being the deciding factor, with the Raptors hitting four in a row after Fournier’s three to extend their lead to five points. The Magic were never able to recover from this deficit.
Magic head coach Scott Skiles acknowledged the importance of free throws post-game.
Despite the loss, Evan Forunier was pleased with the teams offensive effort. Fournier and guard Victor Oladipo had big games for the Magic, contributing 21 points each.
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) March 21, 2016
Next up for the Magic will be the Boston Celtics Monday night in the second game of a four game road trip.