The Toronto Raptors needed someone to pick up the team against the Orlando Magic and Norman Powell stepped up in a big way.
Norman Powell hasn’t needed to play a lead role in a Toronto Raptors victory this season but against the Orlando Magic he took the team on his shoulders.
It was only fair that somebody other than Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet get the job done offensively especially on Friday night. Siakam put up 10 points in 40 minutes while VanVleet still managed to have 22.
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Powell would score a career-high 33 points with 19 coming in the third quarter which helped the Raptors keep their winning streak alive after taking care of business at home against the New York Knicks.
Toronto didn’t get off to a great start in this game but their defence stepped up in a big way holding Orlando to 33.8 per cent from the field allowing the team an opportunity to make a comeback.
This is not an insignificant development for the Raptors considering they continue to find success against teams like the Magic who should be seen as easier opponents on the schedule. It also shows how Nick Nurse is capable of adapting when his best players aren’t performing at their best.
It doesn’t get any easier for Toronto as they will have to prepare for a slate of games against the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Clippers within the next couple of weeks.
In the next stretch of games, the Raptors should be able to prove to themselves and to others how good they can be especially when they get a healthy lineup. If they are capable of staying in the top three of the Eastern Conference standings, it should add some credibility to their status as contenders.
What stood out for you in the Raptors win over the Magic? Is their current play sustainable against the elite teams in the East? Let us know in the comments below.