Some 40 minutes later, they celebrated the point guard with a standing ovation.
Yes, Marc Gasol was involved in a late defensive mix-up with Kawhi Leonard that helped cost the Raptors Game 1 in their playoff series against the Orlando Magic, but that shouldn't overshadow the excellent work he has done so far on Nikola Vucevic.
Raptors fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The Orlando Magic, unlike the first game in the series, didn't have an answer for Toronto's defense.
"Obviously, I've met with him and talked with him about it", Nurse said. Kawhi Leonard is definitively their best player, and Lowry's willingness to defer has facilitated the emergence of Most Improved Player front-runner Pascal Siakam and the quick integration of Marc Gasol.
Gordon probably has been the best offensive Orlando player through the two games (15 points, 7.5 rebounds per game, 50% shooting, including 5-7 from beyond the arc) and he's looking forward to playing at home.
The Denver Nuggets also evened up the scores in their series against the San Antonio Spurs, rallying in the fourth quarter to win game two 114-105. "Basically just making sure that we just play hard".
Following the Magic's Game 1 win, we knew the Raptors would come out in must-win mode. "Just wanting to come out and win this game". After a stunning defeat in Game 1, Leonard (who, to his credit, went for 25 points and six rebounds in the loss) played like an MVP-caliber performer on Tuesday night. Only Vince Carter (50 and 39) and Chris Bosh (39) have scored more points in a playoff game than Leonard's 37. The Raptors led 90-66 with one quarter left to play. Things got heated down the stretch when Michael Carter-Williams threw an elbow to Lowry's face that almost knocked the point guard off his feet.
Ovechkin injures Carolina's Svechnikov with punch to face
The result: Carolina's most lopsided postseason victory since a 5-0 win over Edmonton in Game 2 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final. The single effort set a franchise record for fewest in a period for a road playoff game, according to NHL.com's Tom Gulitti .
Toronto's quality first half built them a modest 12-point advantage with momentum on their side. What followed was a a three-day waiting period in which the Raptors - Nick Nurse and Kyle Lowry in particular - absorbed body blows from every critic in the media, and that seemed to finally wake them up. The Orlando Magic are averaging 93 points on 38.6 percent shooting and allowing 106 points on 46.9 percent shooting. After his first free throw attempt missed, the applause reached a crescendo, climaxing as the second shot fell through the net. Lowry missed his first, but made the second.
Orlando got a big boost from D.J. "That's him at his finest tonight". Leonard finished the game with game-high 37 points on 15-of-22 shooting, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and game-high +37 on both ends of the court. He was doing it all.
Norman Powell connected on a three-pointer soon after to put the Raptors up by 34 points, sending many fans to the exit to beat the rush.
Toronto was shocked in Game 1 of the series, losing by three after finishing the regular season by winning seven of their last eight.
The Magic needed garbage time scoring to break 80, failing to keep up with the Raptors' high-flying offence in Game 2. Toronto committed just seven turnovers for nine points.
"Our decision-making was bad", Clifford said.
"Tonight he was just in a groove, getting downhill, getting to his spots", Lowry said. Ibaka's two free throws soon bumped the lead to 30. He expects to face a team bent on revenge in Friday's Game 3.