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3 things to watch for in Sunday’s Raptors-Magic Game 4 matchup

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Toronto Raptors will look to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round matchup against the Orlando Magic Sunday night in Game 4. The Magic came up short in Game 3, 98-93, and will need a big-time performance from the likes of Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon if they want to tie the series at two games apiece.

Let’s take a look at a few things to watch for in Game 4.

Most-Improved Pascal

Pascal Siakam set a playoff career-high in Game 3 when he finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds. That was the third straight playoff game in which he set a personal best. In Game 1, he scored a then career-high 24 points; in Game 2, he finished with a career-high 11 rebounds.

Since 2015, only Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James — and now Siakam — have a 30-point, 10-rebound, and a zero-turnover stat line.

Orlando has to find a way to contain his activity if they want to stay competitive in Game 4.

Kyle Lowry’s Hustle Stats

Kyle Lowry’s impact is almost always seen in the box score — whether it’s his scoring or passing. This postseason, though, his activity on the floor has been on another level. According to Joseph Casciaco of The Score, Lowry currently leads the league or is tied for the league-lead in charges draw, deflections and loose balls recovered.

In the playoffs, even an extra possession or two, can be the difference in the outcome.

Orlando Struggling to Score

It’s not mystery Orlando’s offense is struggling over the past two games. The Magic shot just 36 percent from the field in Game 3 en route to a series-low 93 points scored.

Terrence Ross is going to need to get it going early — and often. He scored eight points in the final three minutes of Game 3, one of the few bright spots of the game. Toronto hasn’t been able to contain Ross, yet, and he just might need a career performance to keep Orlando competitive.

“It is a must-win for sure,” Evan Fournier said. “We’ve got to start from the get-go for 48 minutes of real intensity. We’ll see how it goes.”

Orlando still held Toronto to just 98 points, meaning they’re still projected to remain in striking distance based off just one side of the floor. Orlando found a way to take a two-point lead in the third quarter, but closed poorly.  Vucevic played up to expectations with 22 points and 14 rebounds in 40 minutes Friday night After averaging just 8.5 points and 7 rebounds in the first two games. Vucevic helped put Toronto center Marc Gasol in foul trouble, and Orlando looked like a different team out there when Gasol was on the bench.

The Raptors said they’ll play Vucevic the same way they did in Game 3. Let Gasol defend him with no immediately help, and adjust if needed. There’s not a whole lot of reliable offense on the roster if Vucevic isn’t firing on all cylinders.