LOS ANGELES — Kyle Lowry scored Toronto’s first nine points as part of a game-opening, 12-1 flurry Tuesday night to propel the Raptors to a 115-96 blowout win over the visiting Orlando Magic and a 4-1 win in an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
The second-seeded Raptors will next face the third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-100 on Tuesday night to take their first-round series in five games, as well.
With a chance to wrap up the best-of-seven set at home, the Raptors wasted no time taking charge. Lowry hit four field goals — including a 3-pointer — in his early burst, and Kawhi Leonard added a three-point play as Toronto went up by 11 before the game was three minutes old.
The Raptors’ surge didn’t stop there. After Aaron Gordon dropped in Orlando’s first basket 3:23 into the game to cut the gap to 12-3, Toronto immediately went on another 10-0 run to expand the lead to 22-3 at the 5:09 mark of the first period.
Lowry buried a second 3-pointer in the second spurt.
In winning for the fourth straight time after a series-opening loss at home to Orlando, the Raptors led 35-19 after one quarter and never allowed the Magic closer than 11 after that.
In fact, after building a 67-47 halftime advantage, Toronto never led by fewer than 17 points the rest of the way.
Leonard finished with 27 points and Pascal Siakam scored 24 for the Raptors, who had never previously won four straight games in the same playoff series.
Leonard’s game-high total included 5-for-5 shooting on 3-point attempts.
Lowry totaled 14 points while Norman Powell added 11 and Serge Ibaka 10 for Toronto, which won the final four games of the series by a cumulative 75 points after dropping the opener 104-101.
Lowry also found time for nine assists, one fewer than teammate Fred VanVleet’s game-high total.
The Raptors shot 48.2 percent from the floor, compared to Orlando’s 38.6% mark.
D.J. Augustin, the hero of Orlando’s Game 1 win with a late 3-pointer, had a team-high 15 points for the Magic. Orlando was making its first playoff appearance since losing in the first round to Indiana in 2012.
Terrence Ross and Wes Iwundu had 12 points apiece, Gordon 11 and Evan Fournier 10 for Orlando. Khem Birch grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in the loss.
LILLARD’S 50 POINTS, BUZZER-BEATER BOUNCE THUNDER
Damian Lillard capped a 50-point game by sinking a long 3-pointer as time expired to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 118-115 victory over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night and a five-game series win.
Lillard set a franchise single-game playoff scoring record as the third-seeded Trail Blazers clinched the first-round Western Conference playoff series despite trailing by 15 points with 7:45 to play. They will next play the winner of the Denver-San Antonio series.
Paul George scored 36 points for the Thunder, and Russell Westbrook collected 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds.
An 8-0 Blazers run tied the game at 113-113 with 57.1 seconds to play, and the two teams traded baskets after that. Then, after a Westbrook miss with less than 20 seconds to play, the Blazers rebounded and got it to Lillard, who hit the series-clinching bomb at the buzzer.
NUGGETS 108, SPURS 90
Jamal Murray had 23 points and seven assists, and host Denver beat San Antonio in Game 5 of a Western Conference playoff series — the only series of the four played Tuesday night not to end.
The Nuggets lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 at San Antonio on Thursday night. Game 7, if necessary, would be played Saturday in Denver.
Nikola Jokic amassed 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, Will Barton scored 17 points off the bench, and Gary Harris had 15 points for Denver. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and DeMar DeRozan also scored 17 for the Spurs, who lost a second game in a row. — Reuters