Orlando Magic Grades: Toronto Raptors 115, Orlando Magic 102

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon had solid moments but an injury derailed his evening in Tampa. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon had solid moments but an injury derailed his evening in Tampa. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

38. 115. 81. Final. 102

Things seemingly could not get worse for the Orlando Magic. And then it did.

Aaron Gordon nearly hyperextended his knee on a questionable box out attempt from Kyle Lowry in the second quarter. Incensed with the seemingly dirty play and perhaps lingering frustration from Kyle Lowry’s late hit in the bubble, Aaron Gordon lowered his shoulder and dropped Lowry to the ground, earning him a flagrant foul called.

Frustration had boiled over. The physical defensive style from the Toronto Raptors had gotten to the Magic again, stifling their offense and giving them no room to breathe.

They jumped on the Magic for a double-digit lead in the first quarter yet again. Orlando had some fight, but more frustration. Things are boiling over for a team that is quickly seeing its season go up in smoke.

Then it got worse.

Midway through the third quarter, Gordon was bringing the ball up when the Raptors’ physical defense got to him. A quick swipe as he brought the ball up the court as the team’s de facto point guard and suddenly he took a bad step.

Gordon rolled his ankle and left the game. The Magic already down two starters and several other rotation players may be without Gordon for a while. The team will have to find a way down another player and still seeking their way.

Orlando never really challenged Toronto in a 115-102 loss at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sunday.

The Orlando Magic suffered another injury to a starting player as their roster grew thinner and more frustrated following their 11th loss in the last 13 games.

The Magic cut the lead to six at one point in the second quarter, only to see the Raptors extend the lead back out by the end of the period, capped off with Kyle Lowry going the length of the floor to beat the buzzer.

Orlando did not get much closer than that 14-point deficit at halftime. The Magic were forced to stay on the perimeter far too much, making 13 of 36 3-pointers as the only saving grace for an offense that struggled to create any movement.

The Magic made only 20 of 46 2-point field goals with any drive seemingly met by to Raptors players to block any path forward.

The Raptors did what they always do then. They forced the Magic into mistake after mistake, turning 11 turnovers in 22 points off turnovers with other long rebounds and blocked shots turning into easy run-outs.

Orlando is already playing with a small margin for error, but the team continues to play poorly on top of that. And so it is no surprise the Magic are a bit lost as the losses continue to pile up.

C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. C.

Defenses know Nikola Vucevic is the only real option for the Orlando Magic right now. Teams are doubling and pressuring him any time he gets the ball in a post-up or anywhere else they can load up against him. The Toronto Raptors did not have the same size to match up with Nikola Vucevic one on one, but they still knew they could crowd him and make his life difficult.

Vucevic finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds. His second half was better than his first half. But it was also clear that the pressure the Raptors put him under was getting to him. He was rushing his shots and so he shot another inefficient 5 for 18 from the floor. Orlando is not winning if Vucevic is not near his best.

B. . PG. Orlando Magic. COLE ANTHONY

The only bright spot for the Orlando Magic was how Cole Anthony seemingly was always trying to get after the game and get into the lane. He played more consistently in the second half than he did in the first half. But his willingness to attack the paint in a game the Magic could not get much going in the paint — 32 points on 16-for-32 shooting in the paint — was worthy.

Cole Anthony finished with 16 points, adding six assists and 5-for-10 shooting. He had a few of his shots at the rim blocked, but he got there and was always on the attack. Anthony has had his struggles getting the Magic into their offense and that remains. Orlando may have to try to get him playing more on instinct and less in structure to get better play from him.

G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER. D.

Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford said after Friday’s game that quite simply the team has to play better to win. They need their best players to play their best to have a chance to win. And if that does not happen, they are going to struggle. The pressure facing the Magic’s best players is only going to grow with more players out and the more the team goes into the hole.

Right now, none of the Magic’s three best players are playing well. The results are expected in that case. Evan Fournier had it worst in Sunday’s loss. He made only 2 of 12 shots for 11 points. He at least tried to get to the line, making all six of his free throws. But the Magic need his scoring punch. He is the only player who can keep opponents honest on the perimeter. And that is not happening right now.

Orlando Magic. AARON GORDON. C+. . F

It is hard to judge Aaron Gordon too harshly since he did not play the entire game. An injury knocked him out of the game where he was playing pretty well and with good energy. Aside from a few slip-ups against Pascal Siakam, Aaron Gordon was solid defensively and willing to move the ball offensively. He hit his shots too to score 14 points on 4-for-8 shooting. He was in rhythm and focused on playing well.

Still, frustration got the better of him. The incident with Kyle Lowry was certainly dangerous, as much for the hit as the circumstances surrounding it (he nearly hyperextended his knee because of a player behind him as much as Lowry’s attempt at a boxout). As frustrating as things were, the Magic did not need him to take out his frustration with a flagrant foul. It took the team out of the game.

8-12. 10th East. TORONTO RAPTORS. B+.

The Toronto Raptors are still rough around the edges as they try to right the ship after struggling to start the season. They still have their identity and their way to play, but it is not quite the same without some of the pieces they lost from last year’s team. Toronto is certainly unsettled from being in Tampa rather than Toronto. But the Orlando Magic seemed to fix all those problems.

The Raptors just swarmed the Magic all game long and gave them very little room to breathe. They got a huge contribution from their bench too with Deandre Bembry scoring 12 points and Yuta Watanabe with 11. They both provided solid defense and scoring as the Raptors maintained their lead in the second half. Pascal Siakam had 30 points to pace the Raptors and lead them to the win.

dark. Next. Cole Anthony is Orlando Magic's X-Factor

The Magic are now 8-13 and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They will face the Raptors in a rematch at the Amway Center on Tuesday.