On the first day of NBA playoff action on Saturday, three of the four games featured the lower seed upsetting the higher seed on the road. None of those upsets was more surprising than the seventh-seeded Orlando Magic defeating the second-seeded Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The series will remain in Toronto for Game 2 today as the Raptors attempt to tie the series at one win apiece (8 p.m. ET Tuesday).
Toronto needs a much better performance from point guard Kyle Lowry, as well as its bench. The young Magic got a big game from D.J. Augustin in Game 1 and will hope to have All-Star center Nikola Vucevic get back on track after a terrible shooting performance on Saturday.
Are the Magic going to win in another upset or will the Raptors triumph by a large margin? Let’s break down some questions concerning this game and give our preview’s Orlando Magic vs Toronto Raptors predictions for this Game 2.
Does Kyle Lowry Have a Bounce-Back Game in Him?
One matchup the Raptors should have been able to count as an advantage for them was the point the point guard matchup. Kyle Lowry is a perennial Eastern Conference All-Star at the 1 position, and D.J. Augustin is just an OK starting point guard.
Here were their scoring stats from Game 1:
- Lowry: 0 points on 0-of-7 shooting.
- Augustin: 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
That matchup is the one thing you can point to as the biggest reason for the Magic’s upset win. Augustin more than doubled his season scoring average (11.7 points) and Lowry had his first scoreless game in more than four months.
Lowry has had a history of offensive struggles in the playoffs, but he is usually a reliable defender. He wasn’t terrible in this game, but he had some rough moments on that end and was overall a clear net negative. Let’s see if that changes in Game 2.
Will Magic Continue to Stay Composed & Aggressive?
The Magic didn’t look a team with very little playoff experience on Saturday. They did two things very well that usually don’t characterize young teams: they protected the ball and controlled rebounds well.
Orlando had just 11 turnovers, with only four of them being live-ball steals for the Raptors. The Magic also had 48 rebounds to the Raptors’ 45. Because of those two strong points, the Magic were able to attempt two extra field-goal attempts as well as six extra free-throw attempts. It gave Orlando leeway to earn the upset despite shooting just 40 percent from the field.
In Game 2, the Magic may start to play a bit tight with the expectations for them now increased. They need to resist that urge and continue to play like a hungry underdog that has nothing to lose.
Will the Raptors Get More Out of Their Bench?
Last season, the Raptors’ bench was perceived as a massive strength for the team heading into the playoffs, while their starters were a bit of a concern. This year, it’s reversed. That’s probably beneficial for the Raptors’ championship hopes, because starters matter more than the bench.
Toronto does still need more impact to come from its bench. With OG Anunoby sidelined due to an emergency appendectomy, the Raptors’ key contributors off the pine are Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Norm Powell. VanVleet chipped in 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, but he was also a major defensive liability and had one assist to two turnovers in 27 minutes. Ibaka and Powell combined for nine points on 3-of-10 shooting.
All three guys have playoff experience and are definitely solid bench contributors. What they provided against a feisty Magic reserve unit in Game 1 was simply not enough.
Our Preview’s Orlando Magic vs Toronto Raptors Game 2 Betting Picks & Predictions
The Raptors have a lot more star power than the Magic. They are going to be more motivated than ever to display their superior talent with guys like Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol against a scrappy, young Magic squad.
The Magic are a defensive-minded team and Toronto didn’t bring the defensive intensity it is capable of bringing in Game 1. That will change in Game 2, creating a lower-scoring game. So these are the Orlando Magic vs Toronto Raptors predictions for this preview:
- The Raptors are a 10-point favorite and I expect them to definitely win by double digits. You should put money on the Magic -10pts @ -110 with Intertops or Bookmaker. It is -113 with BetOnline and -115 with Bovada.
- The Magic don’t have the offensive firepower to really put up a big total against a motivated Toronto defense, which has plenty of size and athleticism. I would advise betting the under 211.5 total points being scored @ best odds of -105 with Bovada or Bookmaker.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.