Magic's departure stunned LeBron; Pelinka will remain

Magic Johnson's complete interview about stepping down from Lakers

Not many forecast the Magic to make the playoffs, and now that they have, pretty much nobody is giving them a chance against a loaded and experienced Raptors team.

With Isaac out, Wes Iwundu (5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds) will get the start at small forward and even though he's been a big part of their rotation, Isaac has a plus-2.1 Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DBPM) against Iwundu's plus-0.6 and Iwundu's backup will be Jarell Martin (minus-0.6 Defensive Box Plus/Minus), which hurts the Magic's depth, particularly on defense.

Marc Gasol, the trade-deadline acquisition whose arrival meant we couldn't ask, on the eve of Game 1 of the first round, Jonas Valanciunas about all those chip shots he missed in the final moments of Game 1 of the second round past year, said all of that stuff was meaningless.

Sacramento finished the season with a 39-43 record.

Pascal Siakam's evolution has been no secret in the National Basketball Association. He even praised LeBron, saying that it was surreal to get to play with him this season.

There is also the conundrum of getting Ross's offense in the game. The Raptors have a lot more going for them than Leonard, however, making them strong favorites to beat Orlando.

As he always does, Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier put it quite succinctly. Johnson and the Lakers have received several tampering fines from the National Basketball Association for commenting on various players around the league. They are 4th in both passes per game and assist percentage after being 20th and 22nd respectively before the Spaniard landed in Toronto. His game-winner on November 20 saved the Raptors from what could have been a bad loss while his seven 3-pointers sparked a big second half in the team's win on April 1. There's no question about it.

Leonard, the guy who was brought to Toronto specifically because the Raptors Playoff Express kept ending up in a ditch with a cracked windshield and smoke pouring out from under the hood, would not take the bait. Look past the "load management" that limited his output to 60 games and he put up one of the most dominant seasons in the National Basketball Association and one of the most complete offensive assaults in Raptors history, as he averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in just 34 minutes a game with a True Shooting percentage of 60.6 per cent. But in the final meeting between the two teams (the only one Gasol played in), Vucevic has held to 13 points and 35% from the field thanks to Gasol-Ina.

James' contract runs for another three seasons, but has a player option leading up to the final year of the deal. "I'm good with where I am". They would ignore the "experts" who predicted that they would win no more than 36 games. Game 1 is just the first step.

Considering the circumstances, the Magic should be happy just to steal a game or two in a competitive series. It is worth noting that Kawhi Leonard sat out on February 24 and Kyle Lowry was sidelined during the blowout loss on December 28. Los Angeles was decimated again this season by injuries to almost every key player, including the longest injury absence of James' 16-year career. Toronto, as the two-seed in 2016 and the one-seed previous year, has managed an 8-5. "And that's when Jeanie Buss got her back up". What you're not going to do is reinvent yourself because it's a playoff game.

The Raptors will host the Orlando Magic in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET and hopefully Ibaka doesn't try to cook for Leonard during the playoffs because the last thing the team needs is Kawhi being unavailable with an "illness". To follow the series, check out the schedule for all 7 games below.



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