Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam combine to carry Raptors into Eastern Conference semifinals

Yahoo Sports

The Toronto Raptors weren’t going to let a disappointing Game 1 set the tone for the rest of the first round. The Raptors took care of business immediately, taking three straight games from the Orlando Magic.

With Tuesday’s 115-96 win, the Raptors made it four straight, eliminating the Magic and advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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The first quarter told Raptors fans all they needed to know about the team’s desire to close out the series quickly. Toronto jumped out to a 31-7 lead with 2:36 left to go in the first quarter. The Magic could never dig themselves out of that hole.

At the center of the Raptors’ dominant performance were the usual suspects. Kawhi Leonard led the way with 27 points. He went 8 of 11 from the field, including a perfect 5 of 5 from 3-point land.

Behind him was Pascal Siakam, who dropped 24 points in Game 5. Siakam also added six rebounds and four assists in the win.

Kawhi Leonard carried the Raptors in the first round. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Kawhi Leonard carried the Raptors in the first round. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Magic had no answer for Leonard throughout the series. The 27-year-old Leonard scored at least 25 points against the Magic in four games.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse called Leonard’s performance “amazing” throughout the series.

Leonard struggled only once, scoring just 16 points in Game 3. He was picked up by the 25-year-old Siakam, who exploded for 30 points to lead the team to a tight win in a pivotal game.

Toronto will move on and face the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and company also advanced on Tuesday with a 122-100 win over the Brooklyn Nets to take the series 4-1.

The Sixers should represent a significantly tougher opponent for the Raptors than the Nets, but this will still be a winnable series for Toronto. The team went 3-1 against Philadelphia during the regular season, with its only loss coming in a game where Leonard did not play.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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