Five storylines to watch as Toronto Raptors open playoffs against Orlando Magic

Five storylines to watch as Toronto Raptors open playoffs against Orlando Magic

Five storylines to watch as Toronto Raptors open playoffs against Orlando Magic

There has been plenty of Raptors-centric breakdowns and dissecting of the four previous encounters between the teams, so we have made a decision to change it up a little bit.

A player who thrives when the lights are brightest, Leonard is expected to crank it up in the post-season, showing glimpses of another level down the stretch. Are they a typical 7 seed?

As he always does, Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier put it quite succinctly. As good of a story as they are, they are not going to beat the Raptors if Leonard plays like he has time and again in playoff runs with the Spurs.

Lowry said this season has been unlike any other in that he doesn't have to "score 20, I can go out there and assist guys". What was behind that, and is there any reason to expect that will change?

"I thought we were disciplined from the start", Charlotte coach James Borrego said on Fox Sports Southeast after Tuesday's win. "But now he won't get that chance".

Kawhi Leonard faced an unusual challenge on Thursday. "I think at first you could ignore his shot". "I want to play for a team that's fighting to make the playoffs at least".

"So I see the similarities and versatility where most guys can play one through four, one through five, can switch, guard and pass and see the floor kind of like in San Antonio, where we had those passing bigs that could move and switch out and play great basketball".

"We're more mature, in a way", Vucevic said. Will that trend continue, or is it just a streaky shooter being streaky? "Serena Williams called me a week ago and said, 'Will you mentor me and be on my advisory board?' And I said, 'Yeah, I'm going to do that'". When you attack him, he covers a lot of ground, obviously.

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The Lakers were 20-14 and in fourth place in the Western Conference after beating the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, when James suffered a groin injury that cost him the next 17 games. Can Orlando sustain that advantage?

Magic Johnson is a legendary basketball player, more than deserving of respect. Also how Toronto does against the Michael Carter-Williams and Khem Birch PnR that's given the Magic some nice success will be important.

But it's Leonard that is the fulcrum, the kind of defensive presence who can force teams to throw to the other side of the field, to use a football analogy.

But the decision may ultimately sit with whoever comes in to replace Johnson.

The Raptors and Magic split their regular-season series. "I think I held him to 29 points one time", Nurse joked.

Lonzo Ball enjoyed playing with LeBron James. Assuming he can stay consistent throughout the series, which has been a struggle for him in the past (Raptors fans will know), Ross can steal a game for the Magic.

The Raptors are a 8.5 point favourites. Led by Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka, Toronto's depth has been one of its strong suits for several seasons now.

Markelle Fultz (shoulder), Isaiah Briscoe (knee), Mo Bamba (leg), and Timofey Mozgov (knee) are out.

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