C.J. Miles scores 22, Anunoby has 21 as short-handed Raptors beat Magic - InfoNews

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C.J. Miles scores 22, Anunoby has 21 as short-handed Raptors beat Magic

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives past Orlando Magic centre Nikola Vucevic (9) during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Sunday, April 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
April 08, 2018 - 6:37 PM

TORONTO - On a night Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey gave two starters a rest, C.J. Miles and OG Anunoby filled in the void.

Miles scored 22 points in one of his best performances of the season, while Anunoby added a career-high 21 points, and the undermanned Raptors beat Orlando 112-101 on Sunday in their final home game of the regular season.

Casey gave DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valaniunas the night off with an eye toward the playoffs which begin on Saturday. With the big games from Miles and Anunoby, the move paid off for all four players.

"We needed it. All I can say is we needed it," Casey said on Anunoby. "We're trying to rest people. It's not like we totally need rest, but I think it's the prudent thing to do for our team. We needed that. He needed that. I thought it was a good thing as far as his shooting, his offensive game was concerned. I thought he did a good job defensively."

Norm Powell and Serge Ibaka added 13 points apiece for the Raptors (58-22). Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright each finished with 12 points, while Kyle Lowry had 11.

"We shot the ball confidently," Lowry said. "That's the one thing about the game I really liked. We shot the ball confidently. We needed that, heading into the next couple of weeks, shooting the ball confidently."

Casey said he'll likely sit another starter Monday in Detroit, but it should be all hands on deck in their regular-season finale Wednesday in Miami.

Aaron Gordon led the Magic (24-56) with 16 points. Khem Birch of Montreal hauled down a game-high 12 rebounds to go with 12 points.

The Raptors led by double digits for much of the night, and took an 89-74 advantage into the fourth quarter in front of a sold out Air Canada Centre crowd that included Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock.

A hook shot by Pascal Siakam gave Toronto a 22-point lead with about six minutes to play. The Magic pulled to within 12 points with a last gasp down the stretch, but that was as close as Orlando would get.

Miles, who's struggled lately, shot 6 for 13 from the field, and made five of his 10 three-point shots.

"It's huge. That's one reason we left him in there the other night, to kind of get his rhythm, his sea legs back," Casey said. "A lot of times all a shooter needs is to see it go in. That's why we wanted to get him some extended minutes last game and also tonight. Just trying to get guys in the right frame and right rhythm going into next week."

Two nights earlier, the Raptors had clinched the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference, and set records for both regular-season and home wins.

The Raptors can reach the coveted 60-win mark with victories in their final two games, which Casey said would be a nice way to finish their historic regular season.

"I think in Seattle we won 60 three times and it's a milestone," said Casey, who was an assistant with the SuperSonics for 10 seasons. "You want to accomplish that. It's not the end all, be all. We'd like to accomplish it but not at the expense of overplaying players . . . but it's important.

"There are very few times in your organization's history that you have the opportunity to win 60. It's a good mark to have along with winning your conference."

Former Raptor Terrence Ross, sidelined with a knee injury most of the season, received warm applause when he checked into his first game since November from the ACC crowd.

Wright made the traditional home finale address to the fans before tip-off, thanking them for their support. There was a moment of silence to remember the 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team that died in a bus crash on Friday night.

Powell and Lucas Nogueira started for DeRozan and Valanciunas, who both sat courtside, DeRozan in sweats and Valanciunas in a grey suit and bow tie. Powell left the game less than two minutes in with a sprained ankle, then returned in the second quarter. Nogueira left with hamstring tightness midway through the first quarter, didn't return, and is scheduled to get an MRI.

Fred VanVleet played nine minutes before leaving the game with back tightness, leaving Toronto with eight players.

Trailing by a point late in the first, the Raptors ended the quarter on a 16-4 run and led 35-24 heading into the second.

A pair of Anunoby free throws midway through the second gave the Raptors a 15-point lead. Fans booed when Gordon went to line for three free throws with 0.6 seconds left in the first half. He hit two, cutting Toronto's lead to 61-50 at the break.

Anunoby was a perfect 4 for 4 in the third, and a three from Miles with six seconds left sent the Raptors into the fourth with an 11-point lead.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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