After a disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic in the series opener, the Toronto Raptors were back in fine form with Kawhi Leonard dominating in Game 2.
Leonard finished the game with 37 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals while only playing 33 minutes, a performance that should remind people why he was touted pickup in the off-season. Not only did he bring his A-game but the rest of the roster did too.
After coming up with zero points in Game 1, Kyle Lowry responded in the way many expected him to with 22 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.
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What was also a major improvement from Saturday night was how the Raptors did not give the Magic any room to breathe. There was never a moment where it appeared Orlando was going to make things interesting especially in the second half.
Granted, this was a game the Raptors needed to win because they had already lost home-court advantage with the stunning loss in Game 1.
They buckled down and made it their goal to stop D.J. Augustin who had 25 points and the backbreaking three-pointer to close out the Magic’s win. In Game 2, he was limited to nine points.
The Magic’s best player, Nikola Vucevic, only had six points and a big part of that had to do with Marc Gasol who had as quiet of a dominant game defensively as you’re going to see with a team-high four steals.
Unfortunately for Orlando, they simply had no answer Leonard who was allowed to bully them the entire game.
"“Leonard was, I mean, great,” said Magic head coach Steve Clifford. “What are you gonna do? He was great.”"
This is the feeling the Raptors had with LeBron James, they felt like they did their best to minimize his impact but at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough. Toronto is going to need more of that from Kawhi if they want to go far in the post-season.
It is also interesting to see Leonard only play 33 minutes. This could be the team’s strategy to keep their star fresh during the playoffs with tougher matchups ahead. The team took some criticism for not playing Leonard more in Game 1 which was definitely fair but in Game 2, Kawhi showed he can be dominant playing the same type of minutes.
Going forward, this will be something to monitor especially in close games which is definitely a possibility with the series moving to Orlando.
What were your thoughts on Kawhi’s performance in Game 2? Does his playing time concern you? Let us know in the comments below.