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Raptors' determination pays off in convincing Game 4 win over Magic

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ORLANDO — They’re the better team and they looked determined to prove it.

The result is the Toronto Raptors are doing what good teams do in the first round of the NBA playoffs – putting themselves in position to get it over with quickly on their way to bigger and better things.

There were some brief doubts about the Raptors resolve after they played just an average game to open the series and got beaten on a late three, dropping Toronto to a hard-to-believe 2-14 in the first game of playoff series.

The ‘same old Raptors’ narrative was just too handy, even if Kyle Lowry was the only starter left from the previous five years of playoff stumbles.

But Toronto’s Game 2 beatdown of the Magic followed by a hard-fought win in Game 3 against an energized Orlando club playing their first playoff game at home in seven years signalled that this version of the Raptors – veteran, playoff-proven and capable of lock-down defence on command – had a higher ceiling than anything that has come before.

The Raptors’ 107-85 dismantling of the Magic in Game 4 only cemented that idea. The only remaining question is if Toronto can close it out in Game 5 on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena and best position themselves to ease into what will be a difficult second-round series rested and properly prepared.

The Raptors have never won a best-of-seven series in less than six games, but that’s for Tuesday.

Sunday night, they won three straight games in a single series for the first time and it was another example of why the Raptors can dream big this post-season. Coming off a weak outing in Game 3 where a hint of the flu and endless line of Magic defenders saw Kawhi Leonard make six turnovers compared to five field goals, Leonard once again showed why he’s the best playoff performer the Raptors have ever had. After the Magic jumped out to quick early lead Leonard took over, scoring eight points in a........

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