Pascal Siakam helps Raptors take a 2-1 series lead over Magic
The Toronto Raptors think Pascal Siakam should be selected the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
He was their MVP on Friday night.
And the East’s No. 2 seed has the home-court edge back again.
Siakam had 30 points and 11 rebounds, hitting a floater with 1:33 left to help snuff out a big Orlando rally and the Raptors held off the Magic, 98-93, to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
‘‘He’s unbelievable,’’ Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. ‘‘He’s the most improved basketball player in the NBA this year and he’s only going to get better.’’
Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor and the Raptors held Orlando to 36 percent shooting.
‘‘It’s just taking what a defense gives us and going with it,’’ Siakam said.
Kawhi Leonard — battling illness this week — had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Danny Green had 13 points and Lowry finished with 12 points and 10 assists, plus ran down a huge offensive rebound with about 15 seconds left to extend a critical possession and spoil Orlando’s first home playoff game since 2012.
‘‘It was really what I thought it was going to be tonight,’’ Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. ‘‘I really thought this was going to be a tough atmosphere to play in.’’
Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points, and Nikola Vucevic shook off a slow start to finish with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.
Thunder 120, Trail Blazers 108 — Russell Westbrook called his play in Game 2 ‘‘unacceptable.’’
It was more than acceptable in Game 3. He had 33 points and 11 assists and host Oklahoma City beat Portland to cut their series deficit to 2-1.
Paul George added 22 points, Jerami Grant had 18 and Dennis Schroder 17 for the Thunder. They will host Game 4 on Sunday night.
Damian Lillard scored 32 points, but he had just three in the fourth quarter after scoring 25 in the third. C.J. McCollum had 21 and Enes Kanter added 19.
. . .
The NBA rescinded technical fouls called on Golden State’s Kevin Durant and JaMychal Green of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
The players were called for double technicals early in the third quarter Thursday night at Staples Center as they jawed at each other. The Warriors won, 132-105, to lead the series 2-1.