Leonard scores 37, Lowry has 22 as Raptors rout Magic 111-82

Lowry scores a layup during the second half of his 22-point effort in Game 2

Lowry scores a layup during the second half of his 22-point effort in Game 2

The Kawhiassance was, admittedly, probably a game late, and through no real fault of Leonard's. It was that they outdueled their prized new possession in Kawhi Leonard at the end.

As Thomas Valentine wrote about yesterday on Raptors Rapture, Kyle Lowry was Toronto's best player past year, scoring in double digits in nine out ten games played. Coming off a season in San Antonio that saw him play just nine games because of a serious quadriceps injury, the MVP of the 2014 National Basketball Association finals had praised Toronto's staff for the careful load management program that got him to the playoffs feeling healthy and rested.

Coming out of the half, the Raptors had intentions of putting this game away as fast as possible to send the series to Orlando tied and they did just that.

I've always said that a fan base needs to suffer - really suffer - through the bad times to appreciate the good times.

"It was just more being locked in on every coverage, everything we wanted to do, just being on the same page and communication". Well, if you know Lowry, you know that when he plays with that chip, that bulldog nature, he excels.

"(It was) just all of us buying in", Leonard said.

Perhaps the most important thing they discovered in that Game 1 win is that they can win this series. Presumably none of this would have taken place if Lowry had made just two of his six 3-point attempts, most of which were open, and the Raptors had eked out a win. The Raptors took a 90-66 lead into the fourth. The Raptors' veteran center, acquired midseason from the Memphis Grizzlies, posted a 3-for-5 shooting line in 22 minutes - every make was from deep - but that belied his overall net effect. Lowry bounced back in a major way, and it wasn't just with his 22 points.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse said he thought Toronto had "rattled" Vucevic with a variety of defensive looks, anchored by veteran Marc Gasol, and it's hard to disagree with him.

Two - Redemption: This is why it was so ridiculous to defend Lowry for his dud in Game 1, because he clearly wasn't engaged. He made his first nine attempts from inside the arc before missing a layup.

Orlando didn't score for nearly five minutes to start the game, missing its first six shot attempts and four straight free throws.

"Obviously, I've met with him and talked with him about it", Nurse said. "That's him at his finest tonight". He was doing it all.

Aaron Gordon had 20 points to lead the Magic, who rode a wave of momentum into the playoffs, matching Toronto's 22-9 record over their final 31 games to grab the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. Ross had 15 of Orlando's 17 bench points in the first half. Norman Powell's jumper had the lead at 34 with 2:51 remaining.

In the intervening days between Games 1 and 2, the Raptors' players and staff emphasized the need to decongest a long Orlando defense that afforded them no half-court elbow room in Saturday's loss. Toronto committed just seven turnovers for nine points. Orlando only shot 40 per cent in the game, but won despite off nights from three key offensive components. "We were not the team tonight that we've been. (Toronto) had something to do with it but we certainly didn't stick with the game and play the kind of basketball we've been playing lately". Augustin didn't add a single point in the first quarter. They'd stretch their advantage to 13 points before taking a 26-18 lead into the second.

Toronto kept up its torrid pace in the second, and Siakam's two free throws with 2:27 left in the frame put the home team up by 16.

Toronto was shocked in Game 1 of the series, losing by three after finishing the regular season by winning seven of their last eight.