Green scores in last second to lift Raptors over Magic 93-91
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Danny Green watched helplessly from the paint while Evan Fournier dribbled past and dunked a tying basket with 2.3 seconds left.
Feeding off the confidence of first-year coach Nick Nurse, Green got redemption on the very next play.
Green made a fade-away jumper with less than a second remaining to lift the Toronto Raptors over the Orlando Magic 93-91 on Tuesday night. He caught Kyle Lowry’s inbound pass with 2.3 seconds left, pulled up on the left side of the lane and hit a jumper with 0.5 seconds showing. Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic missed on a 67-foot heave as time expired.
“Most coaches wouldn’t go to a guy who makes a mistake at that point in the game, but Nick has 100 percent faith in all of us,” Green said. “He continues to encourage us and allows us to play through our mistakes. It was nice to make one after missing quite a few the whole game.”
Kawhi Leonard led Toronto with 18 points, and Pascal Siakam had 15. Serge Ibaka added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Green finished with 13.
Fournier led the Magic with 27 points, 22 of them in the second half when he was about the only offense Orlando could generate. Aaron Gordon had 16 points, and Vucevic had 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Magic, who ended a three-game winning streak.
Both sides struggled offensively much of the game, especially the fourth quarter. Toronto committed eight turnovers in the final period, and Orlando missed 11 straight field-goal attempts during a rough 4-minute stretch.
Some of that had to do with the defense.
“Our defense was unbelievable the first 24 minutes and the last 12,” Nurse said. “We were an absolute disaster in the third quarter, but some of that was our offense’s fault.”
The Magic outscored the Raptors 38-26 in the third quarter to wipe out what had been an 18-point deficit. Orlando led 77-75 early in the fourth quarter before missing 11 straight field-goal attempts. Its only points during that time were two free throws from Jonathan Isaac.
“The story of the game was the first six minutes of the fourth quarter,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “We did a good job fighting at the end and that last shot was a difficult shot and he just knocked it in.”
Toronto didn’t take much advantage of the drought. The Raptors could only put together a 3-pointer from Green and a layup by Jonas Valanciunas during that stretch to take an 80-77 lead.
The teams traded baskets from there until Ibaka drilled a jumper from the top of the key to put Toronto in front 91-89.
Toronto led by 18 during a first half when both teams struggled to find or maintain an offensive rhythm. The Raptors made enough shots to jump out to a 40-22 advantage in the middle of the second quarter, as Orlando labored with under 30 percent shooting.
Fournier started the second half with a 3-pointer, the first of six 3s in the period for the Magic. Another 3 from Fournier tied it at 59 with 5:05 left, and his free throw gave Orlando a 75-73 lead going into the fourth. Fournier had 14 points in the quarter.
VUCEVIC GETTING NOTICED
Vucevic is averaging 25.5 points and 11.7 rebounds the past six games, including five Orlando victories.
“He’s playing better than I’ve ever seen him play,” Nurse said. “It used to be he’d get 20 and 12 or something and it was like you didn’t even notice or it didn’t matter. But now, it’s in the rhythm of what they’re doing. He’s got this look on his face that says give me the ball and I’m going to score it.”
Raptors: Toronto didn’t have a player reach double-figure scoring in the first half. ... Toronto got 17 second-chance points.
Magic: Backup F Terrence Ross, the hottest shooter on the Magic over the last five games, was just 2 of 10 against his old team. ... The Magic shot only 41.5 percent for the game.
Raptors: Finish a four-game road trip at Atlanta on Wednesday night.
Magic: Start a six-game Western Conference swing in Denver on Friday night.