Title:Raptors win Game 3 on strength of starters as Magic look for soft spots in their depth
Date: April 19, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about the Raptors’ starters dominating in Game 3 but the Magic finding some weaknesses to poke at in the second unit.
The Raptors are no longer a depth team.
Through three games against the Orlando Magic, the Raptors’ starting five has been downright dominant. In a 98-93 victory Friday, they outscored the Magic by 11 points in 17 minutes, bringing their mark to +47 in 54 minutes for the series. How a starting five — a team’s most heavily used lineup and usually a primary option to close games — measures up should be a pretty good indicator of how a series is going.
And the Raptors are up two games to one now, having taken home-court advantage back. The series has been close, though. Each team has now won a tight game sandwiched around a franchise-record blowout for the Raptors, and the total margin in the series — 31 points — overstates how things have gone. The flipside of the Raptors’ starters being as dominant as they’ve been is that any lineup that isn’t that group has struggled; all other Raptors lineups are a combined -16 in the series.
The Magic very nearly took advantage Friday.