NBA PLAYOFFS: Toronto Raptors bounce back to level Orlando Magic series with masterclass from star duo Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry as Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City Thunder blunder again in Portland
- Toronto Raptors got back on level terms in their series with Orlando Magic
- Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry turned on the style to make it 1-1 after two games
- Denver Nuggets showed form as they beat the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday
- Oklahoma City Thunder’s woes continued as Portland Trail Blazers made it 2-0
Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points and Kyle Lowry bounced back from a scoreless playoff opener with 22 of his own as the Toronto Raptors routed the Orlando Magic 111-82 on Tuesday night.
Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who never trailed and led by as many as 34, as Toronto made it 1-1 in the first round series. Game three is Friday night in Orlando.
Despite playing in foul trouble for much of the night, Leonard finished with a career playoff-high 15 field goals. He made his first nine attempts from inside the arc before missing a lay-up.
Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points as Toronto Raptors turned on the style against Orlando Magic
Pascal Siakam also found himself in form at home as he drove with purpose to the basket
He shot 15 for 22 before leaving to a standing ovation with 4:46 remaining and Toronto comfortably ahead 104-73.
Lowry, who missed all seven attempts in game one, shot eight for 13 and added seven assists.
Aaron Gordon scored 20 points, Terrence Ross had 15 and Evan Fournier got 10 for the Magic, who won Saturday’s opening series game 104-101 on a tie-breaking three by D.J. Augustin with 4.2 seconds to go.
All eyes were on Leonard as Toronto suffered a shock defeat in the series opener to Orlando
NBA PLAY-OFFS AS IT STANDS
Toronto Raptors 1-1 Orlando Magic
Denver Nuggets 1-1 San Antonio Spurs
Portland Trail Blazers 2-0 Oklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76ers 1-1 Brooklyn Nets
Golden State Warriors 1-1 LA Clippers
Houston Rockets 1-0 Utah Jazz
Boston Celtics 1-0 Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks 1-0 Detroit Pistons
In Denver, the pressure was on for the Nuggets to wrestle back control of their first round series against the San Antonio Spurs.
Jamal Murray missed his first eight shots before a stroming fourth quarter in which he scored 21 of his 24 points, leading Denver past San Antonio to tie their playoff series at a game apiece.
The Nuggets were in danger of losing a second straight game at the Pepsi Center after posting the NBA’s best home record (34-7) during the regular season.
They trailed 78-59 late in the third quarter before closing the game on a 55-27 run.
The series shifts to San Antonio next, where the Nuggets haven’t won since 2012, for Game three on Thursday night.
Paul Millsap added 20 points for Denver and Nikola Jokic just missed his second triple-double of the series, scoring 21 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and dishing out eight assists.
Denver Nuggets got back to winning ways as they tied their series against San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs got 31 points from DeMar DeRozan, 24 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 17 from Derrick White.
While Toronto and Denver shook off their early playoff nerves to level their respective series, it was not to be for Oklahoma City Thunder as they were beaten for a second successive game by the Portland Trail Blazers.
CJ McCollum had 33 points, Damian Lillard added 29 and Portland roared to a 2-0 lead in its first-round playoff series.
Maurice Harkless added 14 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Blazers, who opened a playoff series with two wins for the first time since the 2014 playoffs, when they beat Houston Rockets in six games.
It was more disappointment for Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City Thunder in Portland
Blazers guard Damian Lillard was sensational again as he continues to trouble the Thunder
The series shifts to Oklahoma City for the third game on Friday in what is a tie of huge significance for Russell Westbrook and his team-mates if they have any hopes of escaping a first round exit.
Westbrook, who had his ninth career postseason triple-double in Oklahoma City’s opening game loss, finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.
Paul George had 27 points despite lingering questions about his right shoulder, which was covered with kinesiology tape.
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