TORONTO — Kept off the scoreboard in a Game 1 defeat, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was “at his finest” in Game 2, at least in the eyes of coach Nick Nurse.
Fellow All-Star Kawhi Leonard wasn’t too bad, either.
Leonard scored 37 points, Lowry bounced back with 22 and the Raptors routed the Orlando Magic, 111-82, on Tuesday to even their Eastern Conference first-round series at one win apiece.
Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who never trailed and led by as many as 34.
Game 3 is Friday night in Orlando.
Leonard said Lowry “led us in intensity,” helping the East’s No. 2 seed in avoiding a 2-0 hole.
“He did a great job of bouncing back,” Leonard said. “He’s a pro. That’s what pros do. They know it’s just one game and they come in the next game ready to play.”
Lowry, who missed all seven attempts in Game 1, shot 8 for 13 and led his team with seven assists.
“He was big time tonight,” Nurse said. “That’s him at his finest.”
Siakam said Lowry was visibly more tuned in Tuesday than he was Saturday.
“From the jump he had that fire in his eyes,” Siakam said. “That’s the Kyle we know.”
Despite playing in foul trouble for much of the night, Leonard delivered career playoff-high 15 field goals. He made his first nine attempts from inside the arc before missing a layup.
Leonard shot 15 for 22 before leaving to a standing ovation with 4:46 remaining and Toronto ahead, 104-73.
“Leonard was great,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “What are you going to do? He was great.”
Leonard’s career playoff high is 43, set with San Antonio against Memphis on 22 April 2017. He made 14 baskets in that game
“Tonight he was just in a groove, getting downhill, getting to his spots,” Lowry said. “He’s a player who knows where he wants to be on the floor and when he gets to those spots, he’s pretty tough to guard.”
Aaron Gordon scored 20 points while Terrence Ross had 15 and Evan Fournier 10 for the Magic, who won the opener, 104-101, on a tiebreaking trey by D.J. Augustin with 4.2 seconds to go.
Nikola Vucevic struggled again, going 3 of 7 and scoring six points.
“They did a good job taking away a lot of my strengths,” Vucevic said. “I’ve just got to figure out a way to be more aggressive, be more efficient offensively.”
Augustin, who had 25 points Saturday, shot 1 for 6. Seven of his nine points came at the free throw line.