first_imgMOST READ Alex Cabagnot, seven others get fined in latest round of PBA penalties So does Orlando coach Steve Clifford.“To me, this is by far the best team they’ve had here in this stretch,” Clifford said of the Raptors. “This is a terrific team here. Terrific.”Toronto lost 104-101 in Game 1 when Orlando’s D.J. Augustin hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds to play. After that, the Raptors clamped down defensively and held the Magic below 100 in each of the next four.“As the series went on, they started playing much better,” Magic center Nikola Vucevic said. “They stepped up their game on both ends of the floor and we weren’t able to do that. It showed each game.”Toronto set a team record with 34 assists in 41 made baskets in Tuesday’s clincher, and held the Magic to below 40 percent shooting for the third time in four.ADVERTISEMENT “The consistent defensive intensity the last four games has been impressive,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “As long as we keep that defensive focus, we have enough guys to make enough plays on the offensive end.”Toronto’s previous three postseason runs were all ended by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, including a six-game defeat in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals, and consecutive second-round sweeps in 2017 and 2018. The most recent of those defeats led to the dismissal of Coach of the Year Dwane Casey last May, and laid the groundwork for last July’s trade that sent franchise icon DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio as part of a package that brought back Leonard and guard Danny Green.“We’re getting better,” said Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, a candidate for the NBA’s most improved player. “We’re just working hard to kind of gel together and figure things out. Obviously, we can always improve, but it’s starting to click a little bit.”Tuned in at both ends of the floor, the Raptors now have a few days to rest and get ready for Philadelphia in round two.“They’re very talented,” Magic forward Aaron Gordon said of Toronto. “They have a great leader and great point guard in Kyle. They seem to be very balanced.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, Pascal Siakam added 24 and the Raptors routed the Magic 115-96 on Tuesday night, winning their first-round playoff series in five games.Toronto, which has made six straight postseason appearances, has reached the second round for the fourth straight year.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsBuoyed by the offseason additions of Leonard and guard Danny Green, plus trade deadline pickup Marc Gasol, these Raptors are focused on a conference finals berth, and maybe more.“We know what we are and what we can be,” guard Kyle Lowry said. View comments Private companies step in to help SEA Games hostingcenter_img DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) smiles from the bench during a late second half timeout in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Orlando Magic, Tuesday, April 23, 2019 in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press via AP)TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors have reason to believe this is the year their playoff run doesn’t end in failure and frustration.Just ask the Orlando Magic, who have seen firsthand how good this Raptors team can be.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated SEA Games hosting troubles anger Dutertelast_img