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Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors bench lead decisive win over Orlando Magic

The Toronto Raptors continue to own the Orlando Magic.

For the sixth consecutive time, dating back to last year's first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Raptors defeated the Magic. This marks Toronto's 10th win of the season and extends their perfect home record to 6-0 - one of four NBA teams (Celtics, Heat, 76ers) that have yet to lose at home.

The Raptors overcame a shorthanded Magic squad behind a massive effort from their second unit and solid games from Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam.

For more on Toronto's decisive victory, we have you covered with takeaways below.

Steady Freddy

Fred VanVleet has filled right in for Kyle Lowry as this team's motor.

With the loss to the LA Clippers on the back-end of a back-to-back after a hard-fought win over the Los Angeles Lakers being the only outlier, VanVleet has been terrific in every other game since Lowry went out with a thumb injury.

This contest was no different, as VanVleet paced the team's offence throughout the entire game while bringing his typical energy and intensity on the defensive end.

VanVleet finished with a team-high 24 points shooting 10-for-19 from the field to go with seven assists, two steals and a rebound. He led Toronto's second quarter run that decided the game and as he always does, knocked down big shots whenever the Magic started chipping away at the Raptors' lead.

Since Lowry's injury, VanVleet has stepped into the starting lineup averaging 21.0 points, 7.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals shooting 43.7% from the field and 37.2% from beyond the arc.

Key injuries for Orlando

The Magic started this game at full strength with Jonathan Isaac suiting up, but it didn't take long for that to change.

In the second quarter, starting forward Aaron Gordon went down with a right ankle sprain and headed to the locker room, never to return.

A few minutes later, All-Star centre Nikola Vucevic also went down with a right ankle sprain and headed to the locker room, never to return.

It was a tough stretch for Orlando who lost two key players in the blink of an eye. Their production wasn't great prior to the injuries either, as Gordon had two points and two rebounds and Vucevic had just three points shooting 1-for-7 from the field. Vucevic did also have five rebounds and five assists, but he was on track to continue his tradition of struggling against the Raptors .

This required the Magic to dig a bit deeper into their bench. Canadian Khem Birch and former No. 6 overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft Mo Bamba receiving an uptick in minutes at centre while Al-Farouq Aminu saw an increase of playing time at forward.

Orlando continued to fight even without two starters but ultimately came up short.

Raptors' second quarter run

The second quarter was a tough one for Orlando - as just mentioned, both Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon went down with ankle injuries and never returned to the game.

In a contest that was tied after the first frame, the Raptors took full advantage of the Magic's key absences, going on a second quarter run that separated themselves from Orlando just enough for the remainder of the game.

To start the second frame, Toronto went on a 15-2 run engineered by Fred VanVleet and the second unit.

VanVleet buried a 3-pointer to get things going, then Chris Boucher scored seven unanswered points.

Terence Davis and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also chipped in buckets on the run, as Toronto's bench stepped up big not just during this stretch, but throughout the entire game.

The run gave Toronto a 13-point lead - a sizeable margin that the Raptors never surrendered. Orlando would get as close as five points, but Toronto never let them get any closer than that.

The Raptors bench unit was the difference-maker, as Davis, Hollis-Jefferson and Boucher finished with a combined plus/minus of plus-65.

Davis steps up again

Terence Davis has been a huge boost to the Raptors second unit since Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka went down.

He had 13 points, five rebounds and three assists in Toronto's win over the Los Angeles Lakers, 15 points and six rebounds in their win over the Portland Trail Blazers and earlier this week, a career-high 16 points and seven assists in a blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets.

An increase in minutes has led to an increase in production and he brings a special type of energy to the Raptors' bench.

The athletic and wiry guard gives it his all on the defensive end, is always crashing the glass and constantly getting out in transition. As an added bonus, he's been an efficient scorer and consistent 3-point shooter - something Toronto probably didn't expect to be getting out of the undrafted rookie.

Davis finished the contest with another new career-high in scoring of 19 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists and one steal.

Over the last two games, he's shooting 12-for-17 (70.6%) from the field and 7-for-10 (70.0%) from beyond the arc with a combined plus/minus of plus-33.

It appears Davis has solidified his spot in the rotation and if he keeps this up, he should continue to see minutes even when Ibaka and Lowry return.

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