Orlando Magic Playbook: Toronto Raptors showed championship pedigree shutting down Nikola Vucevic

Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic, Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptors

TORONTO, CANADA – APRIL 13: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors during Game One of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 13, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors went on to win the NBA championship this year. How they shut down Nikola Vucevic showed why they were so lethal defensively.

On their way to capturing their first NBA title, the Toronto Raptors soundly defeated the Orlando Magic in their first-round matchup, taking the series 4-1.

The Raptors’ tenacious defense and heavy doses of Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam really left the Magic with no answers.

Orlando would have liked to have answered with Nikola Vucevic, but Toronto managed to essentially neutralize Orlando’s All-Star big man offensively.

While the goodwill from Orlando’s first playoff appearance in six years likely will not wear off anytime soon, the question does remain: What did Toronto do to Nikola Vucevic?

Last year, the big man had his best year as a pro.

He earned his first All-Star appearance while leading a young, funky roster through ups and downs that would have sunk them in years past.

His counting stats are nothing to sneeze at: 20.8 points per game, 12.0 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game, 1.0 steal per game, 1.1 blocks per game and 2.0 turnovers per game on 51.8 percent shooting, 36.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc and 78.9 percent shooting from the foul line. That translates to a 25.5 PER and true shooting percentage of 57.3, both career highs.

Then he ran into Toronto.

In the playoffs this year, Vucevic averaged 11.2 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game. He hit on just 36.2 percent of his shots and 23.1 percent from beyond the arc (3 for 13).

Vucevic was no longer the efficient big man the team ran its offense through. The Raptors successfully knocked him out of the game and the series.

Published at Sat, 15 Jun 2019 17:14:06 +0000
Source: https://orlandomagicdaily.com/2019/06/15/orlando-magic-what-happened-to-nikola-vucevic-in-the-first-round/

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