Toronto Raptors

Five takeaways from the Toronto Raptors last-second win over the Orlando Magic

In what was nearly a repeat of last week's loss to the Pistons, the Raptors overcame a less-than-stellar second-half performance to earn a last-second win over the Magic.

While there were plenty of similarities, the minor differences in the way the game's final stretch resulted in a more positive outcome for Toronto.

From overcoming sloppy play to the presence of wily veterans, here are five takeaways from the Raptors win Tuesday night.

Kawhi Leonard attempts a layup over the Orlando Magic (NBA Getty Images)

A win is a win

It might not have been pretty, but it's plus one in the win column for the Raptors.

Despite squandering an 18-point lead and getting outplayed for much of the second half, Toronto made a big play when it mattered most and advanced to 14-4 on the season.

There were plenty of similarities in the Raptors' two-point loss to the Pistons last week and a number of lessons to be learned from tonight's game as well, but it's safe to say that these lessons are better taken from a victory than in defeat.

Toronto will need to be better moving forward, but experiencing a similar game last Wednesday prepared this Raptors team to avoid making the same mistakes to receive a different outcome Tuesday night.

Kyle Lowry passes to Jonas Valanciunas (NBA Getty Images)

Taking care of the ball

While the Raptors' 16 turnovers were far from a season-high, the team committed 10 of the 16 in the second half, and eight in the fourth quarter.

The alarming second-half turnover numbers include an abysmal stretch in which Toronto committed a turnover on seven of eight possessions that began late in the third and continued into early parts of the fourth quarter. The stretch included six-consecutive possessions that ended in a turnover to start the fourth quarter.

The Raptors were fortunate in that some of the turnovers resulted in dead balls, and that the Magic were able to convert their 16 takeaways to just 12 points. Toronto committed charges and threw the ball away due to miscommunication, bad reads and deviation from the offence.

Moving forward, Toronto must tidy up on the offensive end, as teams will look to take advantage of its mistakes.

Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry (NBA Getty Images)

The presence of the vets

On the game's final possession, the Raptors went with a lineup of Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka.

While VanVleet is just in his third year, he shared the court with a 13-year veteran in Lowry and three other players with NBA Finals experience in Green, Leonard and Ibaka. Green and Ibaka proved to be the difference here, as they both were not present down the stretch in Toronto's stunning loss to Detroit last Wednesday - Ibaka missed the game with a sore knee while Green left the game due to lower back tightness.

The multiple calming veteran presences the Raptors possess can set them apart from more youth-reliant teams like the Bucks, Celtics, Pacers and Sixers. This should be the case throughout the regular season but especially during the postseason and it was on full display tonight.

Kawhi Leonard (NBA Getty Images)

Getting to the free throw line

Perhaps the most eye-popping stat from the game is that the Raptors shot just eight free throws for the entire game while the Magic attempted 19.

Toronto shot 75 percent from the line, hitting six of its eight attempts, but eight is far too low for a team with a players like Leonard, Lowry, Ibaka and Valanciunas. The Raptors' 21.8 free throw attempts per game are the bottom-10 in the league and tonight marks the sixth time in 17 games that the team has attempted less than 15 free throws in a game.

Surprisingly, the team is now 6-0 in such games, but getting to the line can only be a positive for the Raptors and their offence.

Kyle Lowry shoots (NBA Getty Images)

3-point woes return

Entering Tuesday night, the Raptors were 0-3 when making fewer than 10 3-pointers and 1-4 when shooting below 30.0 percent from beyond the arc.

After making 14 of 35 3-point attempts Saturday in Chicago (40.0 percent), Toronto shot just 9-for-34 (26.5 percent) from deep for the game Tuesday night, hitting just three treys in the second half. The Magic weren't any better, shooting 8-for-30 from 3-point range (26.7 percent), missing a number of good looks in the second half. Outside of Evan Fournier, who shot 4-for-9 from deep, Orlando shot 4-for-21 as a team in the loss.

On one hand, the Raptors can consider themselves lucky that some of the good looks the Magic got didn't fall. On another hand, it can be looked at as a positive that the team found a way to win despite shooting uncharacteristically poor from long range.

While the presence of C.J. Miles is certainly missed, the team can be counted on to deliver better shooting performances across the board. As Toronto continues to shape its identity, it can pride itself on the ability to win in a number of different ways.

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