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Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors stifle Orlando Magic to clinch series

By
Connor Grott
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points with seven rebounds and a steal against the Orlando Magic in Game 5 Tuesday night. File Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points with seven rebounds and a steal against the Orlando Magic in Game 5 Tuesday night. File Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

April 24 (UPI) -- The Toronto Raptors used another strong defensive performance to defeat the Orlando Magic 115-96 on Tuesday night, clinching their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series in five games.

The Raptors extended their playoff winning streak to a franchise-record four games and reached the second round of the NBA playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

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"I think our focus was to try to get out and put a stamp on the game from the defensive end and I think we did that," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse told reporters. "I think it was a good sign that we were ready to go. We were serious and we knew how hard we had to play to beat this team."

The Magic made only 32-of-83 shots (38.6 percent) and went 9-of-34 from 3-point territory. Orlando missed 11 consecutive shots from long range until Evan Fournier sank a 3-pointer midway through the second.

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Raptors star forward Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-5 from 3-point range. Leonard added seven rebounds and provided his usual lockdown effort on the defensive end.

Toronto forward Pascal Siakam had 24 points, six rebounds and four assists. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry registered 14 points, nine assists and four boards in 27 minutes before exiting the game in the second quarter with a dislocated finger. He returned in the second half, and was wearing a splint after the contest.

"It popped out, but it's fine. I popped it back in," Lowry told reporters. "I got a couple days to get it back [healthy] and recover. It will be better by Game 1 [against the Philadelphia 76ers]."

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Magic forward Aaron Gordon had 11 points and seven rebounds. D.J. Augustin led the team with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Fournier added 10 points, three boards and two assists.

The Magic hadn't reached the playoffs since 2012. Orlando, who played the Indiana Pacers that year, won the series opener on the road before losing four straight contests. Much like that series, the Magic won in Game 1 but lost four consecutive games. Orlando hasn't advanced past the first round since 2010.

The Raptors host the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the second round.

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