Williams’ 3 lifts Raptors past Magic, 101-99; 11th straight win in series

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Magic haven’t beaten the Toronto Raptors in more than three years. They missed another chance Friday night.

Toronto’s Lou Williams drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 9.9 seconds left and the Raptors successfully forced a last-second miss by the Magic, claiming a 101-99 road win. The game featured three lead changes and two ties in the final 50 seconds.

It was Toronto’s 11th straight win over Orlando.

Williams scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 29 points. Tyler Hansbrough had 16 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 10 points and seven assists.

“The things we wanted to work on, we executed,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “Our offence down the stretch was fine, but this year, it’s defence that is our whole mantra. “

Williams hit the winner, but DeRozan served it up, after twice putting the Raptors ahead by himself in the final minute. DeRozan capped a 6-0 run with a jumper from the free throw line to give Toronto a 96-94 lead with 50 seconds to play. His driving, reverse layup pushed the Raptors ahead 98-96 with 18.9 seconds to go.

With Toronto down 99-98, he drove into traffic and threaded a pass between defenders to a wide-open Williams for the winning basket. The Raptors shot 30 3-pointers in the game and hit only nine, but made the one that counted.

“You can’t make every shot, but we kept shooting,” DeRozan said. “Whenever I draw that much attention, I try to get my teammates going. I saw Lou in the corner and that was the thing to do.”

Williams agreed, naturally.

“We shoot shots we’re comfortable with,” Williams said. “We have always been a high-volume 3-point shooting team and we have confidence in the shots we take.”

Orlando was hoping for its first four-game winning streak in more than three years. Oladipo led Orlando with 19 points and Evan Fournier added 18 points. Tobias Harris and Nik Vucevic had 16 apiece, while rookie Aaron Gordon had 13 points and six rebounds.

The Magic led 99-98 after Oladipo hit a 3-pointer from two steps behind the line with 13.8 seconds left in the game. Oladipo could have tied in the final second, but missed a contested jumper from the free throw line.

“This is a fantastic group of players,” Magic interim head coach James Borrego said of his team. “The way they’re fighting, the way they’re competing against three high-calibre teams. We won the boards, we won in the paint, we missed one shot down the stretch and they made one.”

The back-and-forth play in the final minutes mirrored much of the game.

Toronto led by as many as 12 in the first half, but the Magic rode Fournier’s hot shooting from the perimeter to a 51-49 halftime lead. The second-year shooting guard, who had played only once since missing 17 games with a hip injury, knocked down three straight 3-pointers and two more shots from just inside the line to help the Magic get a brief advantage.

The teams traded baskets throughout the third period that fittingly ended in a 76-76 tie. Toronto did most of its damage from the perimeter, while all of Orlando’s offence came inside the lane.

Two dunks by Hansbrough were Toronto’s only points inside the paint. Oladipo’s 10-foot runner in the lane was the longest shot Orlando made in the quarter.


TORONTO: PG Kyle Lowry, who missed the last seven games with back spasms, was in the starting lineup. He scored 10 points and had seven assists in 33 minutes. . F Amir Johnson missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle. . C Jonas Valanciunas had 13 rebounds at halftime, six at the offensive end. . The Raptors are one victory away from tying the franchise-record 48 wins set a year ago.

ORLANDO: The last Orlando win over the Raptors came on March 27, 2012. . Rookie PG Elfrid Payton is averaging 12.9 points, 9.3 assists and 6.5 rebounds in the seven games since scoring back-to-back triple-doubles. . PG Luke Ridnour returned to the team after missing three games for the birth of his son, Ryker Ridnour.


Toronto: plays at Miami on Saturday night.

Orlando: has a rare back-to-back home situation, hosting New York on Saturday night.

The Associated Press

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