One of the first round matchups of the East is between the Toronto Raptors and the Orlando Magic. The Raptors are the second seed of East and the Magic are the seventh.
The Raptors are the favorites in the series but the Magic should not be underestimated. Regardless, both teams have the potential to play well in this series.
The Toronto Raptors finished the regular season with a record of 58-24 and are led by their star forward Kawhi Leonard. In the regular season, Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. This was his career best in points up to this point. Leonard also averaged 18.0 points in 6.3 rebounds in the season series against the Magic. It was one of his lower averages against a team but it is still solid.
The Raptors also have players such as Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam. Lowry averaged 14.2 points, 8.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He averaged 13.3 points and 8 assists in the season series against the Magic. Lowry has been with the Raptors for seven years. He has been in the playoffs with the Raptors for several seasons. He was a part of last year’s team that lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. The Cavs swept the Raptors despite the Raptors having the best record in the East. This year, Lowry has Leonard and Siakam to help the Raptors get over hump.
Siakam averaged 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds. His stats improved significantly from his last two seasons. Siakam is a candidate for Most Improved Player. He played well this season and it can carry on to the playoffs.
These three players, as well as the Raptors bench, will help the team advance. OG Anunoby will miss two weeks due to an appendectomy. Despite an injury, the Raptors have what it takes to advance to the next round.
The Magic had an impressive regular season. They finished the season with a record of 42-40. This led to the Magic making the playoffs for the first time since 2011. They lost to the Pacers 4-1 in the first round. The Magic have a chance to prove themselves in this series.
The Magic are led by Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic averaged a double-double with 20.8 points and 12 rebounds. He averaged 20 points and 15.5 rebounds in the Magic’s season series against the Raptors. Vucevic is a skilled center that could give the Raptors trouble. The Raptors could attempt to counteract with a player such as Marc Gasol. Regardless, Vucevic should play well in this series.
The Magic also have Aaron Gordon. Gordon averages 16 points and 7.4 rebounds. However, he averaged 9.5 points and 3.5 assists against the Raptors. He also shot 23.1 percent. The athletic forward did not play well against the Raptors, but he can turn it around in the series. The Magic could benefit from his and Vucevic’s contributions.
Both teams played well in the regular season. The Magic exceeded expectations and the Raptors stayed towards the top of the conference. Their season series against each other was 2-2.
The Magic are a young team who deserved to make the playoffs. But, there are inexperienced. The Raptors are not only a better team, but they are a more experienced one. The Magic will play well in the series, but the Raptors will likely advance.
Raptors in 5
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images