At times it wasn't the prettiest, but the Toronto Raptors held off a fourth-quarter rally to earn a hard-fought 104-95 win over the Orlando Magic to advance to 3-1 on the season.
The Raptors, who turned back the clock to 1995 with their throwback uniforms and court, were led by 26 points from Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam's 24 points.
Toronto shot just 33-for-85 (38.8%) from the field but held Orlando to 34-for-89 (38.6%) shooting in the game. The Magic were led by a career-high 24 points from third-year forward Jonathan Isaac, who looks to be one of the league's brighter young stars.
For more on how it all went down, here are some takeaways from the Raptors' win.
K-Low brings it home
Kyle Lowry scored his game-high 26 points in 38 minutes of action and despite the fact that it wasn't his best shooting night - he shot 7-for-18 from the field and 3-for-11 from deep - Toronto outscored Orlando by 13 points when Lowry was on the floor.
In addition to his game-high scoring total, Lowry dished out six assists (tied with Fred VanVleet for a team-high) and grabbed five rebounds. The five-time All-Star saved his best work for the final frame.
Lowry scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and while seven of them came from the charity stripe, his lone field goal was arguably the biggest shot of the night:
Lowry Time ⌚️ pic.twitter.com/coH2EtiXB0- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 29, 2019
The 14-year veteran calmly stepped up to knocked down a triple with just over three minutes remaining in the game to put a halt to the Magic's 15-4 run and put the Raptors back ahead. Toronto wouldn't trail again.
Lowry's leadership and steady veteran play will continue to be big for the Raptors as they grind out wins such as this one throughout the season.
Marc finds his stride
A short offseason resulted in a rough start to the 2019-20 season for Marc Gasol, who entered the night averaging 4.0 points (on 15.8% shooting), 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists through the Raptors first three games.
Monday night was a different story.
The numbers weren't exactly there, but the production and efficiency were a big leap from his first three outings this season. Gasol finished the game with 10 points (on 4-7 shooting) and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes and he was a team-best plus-16 in the box score.
There's still room for improvement, too.
Gasol failed to record an assist for the first time this season. Last season, he averaged nearly four assists in 26 regular-season contests with the Raptors. Toronto's offence is at its best when Gasol uses his passing ability to facilitate for others; tonight, that was evidenced by the stagnancy on the offensive end at times.
On the other end of the floor, Gasol played a very large role in…
Limiting Nikola Vucevic
The defence of Gasol caused All-Star centre Nikola Vucevic to look like a shell of himself in the first round of the 2019 playoffs as he averaged just 11.2 points (on 36.2% shooting), 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in the five-game series.
As the two matched up once again, we saw more of the same.
Vucevic was essentially neutralized in this one - he finished with just five points in 25 minutes and shot an abysmal 1-for-13 (7.7%) from the field in the game. His lone made field goal was a 3-pointer less than three minutes into the game.
Toronto made things difficult for the big man, giving him multiple looks, crowding his space and ultimately putting him in uncomfortable positions to where he could not produce at a level to help the team.
So much so, that the Magic elected to move Jonathan Isaac to centre in the final frame, which resulted in getting back in the game with the late rally that the Raptors would eventually hold off.
What's up next
The Raptors close out a two-game homestand on Wednesday when Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons visit Scotiabank Arena