He already wants more.
DeRozan made his intentions clear Sunday night when he scored a
game-high 28 points, leading the Raptors to a tougher-than-expected,
98-93 victory over the lowly Orlando Magic.
With the playoffs three weeks away and a Monday night game against
the defending champions Miami Heat on the horizon, DeRozan refused
to let the Raptors relax, imposing his will and making sure the
winning would continue.
He made 15 of 16 free throws, and he challenged the Magic defense
every time he touched the ball.
"We've come too far to take a step back now. We're on a mission,"
DeRozan said. "I'm thrilled to help this organization get back where
it belongs — in the playoffs — but we haven't accomplished
anything yet. We're going to keep driving because we're not going to
happy to just get in (the playoffs)."
The victory Sunday assured the Raptors (42-31) of their first
winning season in seven years, and they maintained a 2 1/2-game lead
over Brooklyn Nets in the Atlantic Division race. The Raptors, with
their third consecutive victory, also won their 20th road game this
season, matching the franchise record with four games remaining away
Center Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points and nine rebounds for
Toronto. Guard Kyle Lowry contributed 16 points, including nine in
the decisive fourth quarter when the Magic made a run.
Center Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 22 points and 10 rebounds. It
was his third consecutive 20-point game. Reserve guard Victor
Oladipo contributed 16 points, as did point guard Jameer Nelson.
Magic guard Arron Afflalo, who averages a team-high 19.1 points,
didn't score his first point until midway in the third quarter
Sunday night. He finished with eight.
After trailing by as many as 21 points early in the second half, the
Magic tied the game at 76 on a 3-pointer by Oladipo and tied it
again at 80 on a basket by center Dewayne Dedmon. Orlando never led
in the second half.
After the tie at 80, the Raptors went on a 11-2 run, which included
seven points by Lowry. The Magic pulled within 96-93 with 8.9
seconds left and had possession, but they failed to inbound the ball
before a five-second violation was called.
DeRozan hit two free throws with five seconds remaining to ice the
victory. He also made a 3-point basket for a 96-88 lead with 1:03
"That's something we've got to learn, how to play with a lead, keep
your foot on their neck and keep it down," Raptors coach Dwane Casey
said. "We're happy about the win, but we can't be satisfied at the
way we got it. The hardest thing to do in this league is play with a
The Raptors dominated early in the third quarter, but the Magic cut
the deficit to seven later in the period. The Raptors led 73-64
going into the fourth.
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"We still haven't learned how to put away teams when we get them
down," DeRozan said. "We're not satisfied where we're at. We still
haven't done anything in this league. We haven't been to the
playoffs yet. We haven't won a playoff game. I can't wait."
The Magic (21-53) erased a 16-point lead to beat the Charlotte
Bobcats on Friday, but couldn't finish their comeback Sunday.
Oladipo sparked the late charge with 12 points in the fourth
"We're kind of getting known for digging ourselves a hole early,"
Oladipo said. "But we had confidence we could come back and make it
a game. We just came up short."
The Raptors scored 30 points in the second quarter to open a 57-38
lead at intermission. Valanciunas had 16 points by halftime in just
16 minutes. Vucevic had 18 points and six rebounds in the first two
The Magic led 22-21 early, but the Raptors ended the first period
with a 6-0 run and dominated the rest of the half. The Magic made
only five of 18 shots in the second quarter and missed all seven of
their 3-point shots in the first half.
Raptors reserve guard Greivis Vasquez needed five stitches to close
a cut below his eye when he was hit in the face early in the game by
Dedmon. He returned in the second half, and he finished with five
NOTES: The Raptors are headed to the playoffs, but coach Dwane Casey
said Sunday there would be no move to reduce the amount of playing
time for his starters in the rest of the regular season. "We're
still fighting for playoff position," Casey said. ... All-Star G
DeMar DeRozan appeared Sunday in his 375th game for the Raptors
since the team's last playoff appearance. ... Raptors reserve F
Patrick Patterson is expected to play Monday in Miami after missing
his 13th consecutive game Sunday with a right arm injury. ... In
both earlier meetings this season, the Magic lost by 15 points to
the Raptors, shooting 41 percent and 33 percent from the field. ...
Toronto prevented the Magic from posting their third three-game
winning streak of the season. ... Despite averaging just 32.5
minutes per game, Magic PG Jameer Nelson came into the night eighth
in the NBA in assists (6.9 per game). He had four assists Sunday in
the first seven minutes, but he recorded just one more the rest of
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