Tactical Issues: How will the Raptors and Magic adjust in Game 4?

Has Orlando Magic solved their problem with Vucevic vs. Gasol? How did Siakam erupt for 30 points? Should the Raptors “bench” their problem? We dive into some Game 4 tactics. Pascal Siakam put the basketball world on notice on Friday night, and the Magic couldn’t do anything about it. Or, maybe they can, but they refused to mitigate it. That’s what we’re here to figure out.
Game 3 should not have been as close as it was, with the Magic coming close to stealing it had they secured one crucial rebound. Maybe the Raptors have to make some changes too, in that case. Let’s see what transpired in Game 3 and what advice we can offer to coaches Nick Nurse and Steve Clifford.
For the Magic
Coach Steve Clifford should see some silver lining in Game 3 after Nikola Vucevic was finally able to get going — at least for a stretch. There’s still some tinkering that needs to be done for Orlando, though, such as solving the Isaac-Ross-Fournier rotation.
Get Gasol into Foul Trouble to Free Vooch
Has Clifford found a way to free Vooch or was it a fool’s gold? Vooch’s best game of this series mostly …

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Author: JD Quirante / Raptors HQ

Tactical Issues: How will the Raptors and Magic adjust in Game 3?

The Raptors punched back in Game 2, and the Magic are going back home to regroup. How will the Magic adjust after Game 2, and what can the Raptors do better? Where do we start with Game 2? The Magic were punked? Wait, that’s too nice. Obliterated? That doesn’t do enough justice. Whichever word you want to use, the Raptors — especially Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard, Nick Nurse, and, oh heck, the entire fanbase — should feel like they now have the blueprint to eliminate the Magic in this round.
Yes, Game 2 was a blowout for the Raptors, but it just didn’t happen in a flash. Let’s revisit each team’s strategies and how they arrived at that ending. And most importantly, let’s review Game 3 options for the Raptors and Magic to prepare.
For the Magic
The Magic got bullied Tuesday night, and their scoring issues in Game 1 were even magnified in Game 2. Coach Steve Clifford has to find a way to slow down Kawhi, and at the same time put some meat on the backbone of their offense: Nikola Vucevic. But first let’s get to what worked for the Magic in Game 2.

Attack Fred VanVleet

If there’s …

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Author: JD Quirante / Raptors HQ

Five thoughts on last night, Game 2: Raptors 111, Magic 82

The Raptors were all business, and the Magic never stood a chance in Game 2. That was a little more like it. The 2018-29 Toronto Raptors, Playoff Version — the version that we all expected to see on Saturday — made its first appearance on Tuesday night, stomping the Magic into oblivion behind an all-time performance from Kawhi Leonard. Here’s what I thought of the proceedings:
Best Raptors Playoff Performance Ever?
Kawhi Leonard’s 37 points (on 22 shots!), four rebound, four assist and two steal performance was just incredible. It seemed effortless, it seemed like every time he put the ball up it was going in, that there was nothing the Magic could do to slow him down.
It was everything we wanted when we heard the Raptors had acquired him.
I wonder where it fits on the pantheon of all-time great performances though. I don’t think it’s better than Vince Carter’s 50 against Philadelphia in 2001; that was in the second round, so the stakes were higher, and you know, it’s 50 freakin’ points.
Is it ahead of Lowry’s Game 7 against Miami in 2016? Lowry finished that game with 35-7-9-4, on 20 shots, and again, the stakes in that game …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ

Tactical Issues: How will the Raptors and Magic adjust in Game 2?

Did the Magic steal the game by making the right adjustment, or was it a by-product of the Raptors’ moves? Let’s take a look at some of the strategies that the Magic and the Raptors executed in game 1. Death, taxes, and Toronto Raptors losing Game 1s. The Raptors are moving along according to their schedule, and while the fanbase might be panicking, there’s a lot of reason not to — even if Kyle Lowry doesn’t score a single point for this entire series. (Also, fun side note: the Raptors only Game 1 win in the “We The North” era was the Bebe Game.)
It’s easy to dismiss the Orlando Magic as just a bunch of long athletic players. Sure, they struggle to score at times, but coach Steve Clifford made a few high-risk strategic moves that got them past the Raptors in that first game.
The Raptors will not (and should not) have as bad a shooting night as they had in Game 1, but they have a few things to fix, mainly on the defensive end. There are also some minor things that they need to fix on the offensive end. Is getting Lowry a bucket one of …

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Author: JD Quirante / Raptors HQ