The reception for Turkoglu was about the same for any player who is back for the first time to a city where he had success. Turkoglu was cheered loudly during the pre-game introductions, but when he missed a jumper early in the game, the cheers were almost as plentiful. And he was booed each time he went to the free-throw line.
The Turkish national was asked afterward if he pined to be back with the Magic.
"No, not at all," Turkoglu said. "I made the right decision. I'm in a Raptors jersey and will do my best to put the organization in a better position."
Jose Calderon's absence from the Raptors lineup has been clear in one area. Calderon has missed the past three games and five of six with a sore left hip.
"Jose is a guy who really extends defences, and with him out, it has lessened the number of threes we take," coach Jay Triano said.
Perhaps worst of all, for the second straight night, the Raptors never really rallied. You know the old saying, that the NBA is a game of runs? That even the worst teams make it mildly interesting even after they find themselves down by double digits?
For the second straight night, the Raptors got down by as much as 25 and never made serious inroads, and Sunday's spirit-lifting home win over the Houston Rockets seemed like a distant memory.
"We'll take two steps forward and three steps back. We're there some nights and we're not there some other nights," said Bosh, the Raptors all-star. "We have to work on our consistency to be where we want to be. It's going to take hard work and determination."
Leave it to Andrea Bargnani to sum it up best: "They're just better. The best team beat the team that's not as good as them. Pretty simple.
"Our defence has got problems," Bargnani continued. "I think it's pretty clear."
"We're all over the place. We're all over the place right now," Bosh added. "That usually happens in games that we lose. We're all over the place. Guys don't know what they're doing. We're not talking on defence. It's all the things that can really help us out, we just don't do."
It is getting harder and harder to hold out hope that things will change. The Raptors looked impressive at home on Sunday against Houston, outworking a team that prides itself on hard work.
"I think inside they want it," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "I think they tried to do what we asked them to do and they just seemed a half-step slow."
Dwight Howard powers the Magic with 18 points, 14 boards and eight blocks in 118-99 win over the Raptors
Dwight Howard scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Orlando to a 118-99 win over Toronto. Hear what Howard had to say after the game.
"It (Turkoglu's addition) has just been okay,'' said Raptors star Chris Bosh. "Not the best, so far. To be frank. We still have to find ourselves. He still has to get comfortable, and we have to play a lot better.''
Instead of playing for a team expecting to contend for an NBA championship, Turkoglu is playing for a team that is struggling to find an identity, threatening to implode if Bosh decides to leave this summer.
"I'm not happy with the way I've played, not at all,'' Turkoglu said. "I'm trying to find my role and get comfortable there. It's been frustrating. Losing is frustrating.''
Toronto’s defense is soft as a roll of Charmin and it was quite evident once again Wednesday night.
Toronto entered the game next-to-last in the NBA in points allowed (108.3) and 22nd in defensive field goal percentage (47.0), and they were actually much worse than those numbers on Wednesday.
Orlando gutted the Raptors for 57.3 percent shooting and they also made 14 of 30 3-pointers when Toronto dared to send a second defender at Howard. Rashard Lewis, the NBA’s leader in 3-pointers made last season, hit five of eight tries from beyond the arch.
The lopsided win allowed the Magic to improve to 3-0 against the Raptors this season. They have averaged a staggering 115.6 points in the three defeats of Toronto so far. The two teams play again in Orlando on Jan. 6.
Jay Triano stated that Turkoglu is still working on getting comfortable with the Raptors. "It'll come. I think it'll come a little bit better than so far. We're starting to figure out how to use him a little bit," he told reporters following the game.
- Chris Bosh won the individual matchup with Dwight Howard with 20 points to Howard's 18. But it was Dwight's performance on the boards (14 rebounds) and defense (8 blocks) that gave Orlando the edge and victory.
- Dwight Howard on his 8 blocks: "I know, I'll try to get better."
With this loss, the Raptors drop to 11-17, two and half games out of eighth place in the East. Toronto has lost two straight and will look to rebound on New Jersey on Friday. Orlando has won two straight and will look to build on this win tomorrow against the Miami Heat, whom they've won 12 of their last 14 games against.
Turkoglu was showered with a mix of cheers and boos and scored 14 points in the arena where he was a fan favourite before parting ways in the off-season. Turkoglu also had four rebounds and four assists, not nearly enough to prevent the Raptors from losing for the fourth time in five games.
"I wish I could go back to Toronto with a better result," he said. "We tried to be aggressive, but he's a shot blocker. We have to take better shots and not let (Howard) have eight blocks."
It was the first time Turkoglu played in Orlando since opting out of the final year of his contract with the Magic, who acquired Carter in a trade with New Jersey just prior. Orlando then sent Turkoglu to Toronto in a sign-and-trade deal, parting ways with a popular player who teammates called "Mr. Fourth Quarter" for his late-game heroics.
“We think there's an incredible amount of sports content that isn't being broadcast," said MLSE broadcast director Chris Hebb. “With Sportsnet and the CBC applying for general interest sports channels, that's a pretty clear indicator that there is more room for more channels."
But Hebb shot down talk that MLSE's plan is ultimately to combine Leafs TV, Raptors NBA TV and GolTV into one super sports station along the lines of the New York Yankees' YES Network.
“Our immediate goal is to continue to improve and grow our existing channels," he said, noting that GolTV hopes to add more Spanish league games and possibly even some English Premier League matches. “Adding another channel is in our future."
The game transpired more or less like you might have figured it would based on these teams' reputations going in. The Raptors hung with the Magic early on, but the Magic created just enough separation with an 8-0 run late in the first quarter–fueled by a tough Vince Carter layup and back-to-back treys from Jason Williams–to take a 27-19 lead, and Toronto never really challenged after that. It wasn't always a question of effort, but rather ability; Orlando got whatever it wanted, the Raptors couldn't keep pace with the Magic's blistering shooting, and so it continued for the next 36 minutes. After a while, the Raptors appeared to just say, "screw it," and they mailed in the rest of the game. The way things went for the Magic, you can hardly blame them.
The Raptors are 10.5 games behind the Atlantic Division leading Boston Celtics and have won only 41% of their games so far (11-16). Chris Bosh looks like a bona fide franchise player, but the team’s offseason acquisition of Hedo Turkoglu hasn’t led to victories. The team is also missing Anthony Parker at the shooting guard spot more than originally anticipated. By the way — giving up 108 points per game is just plain unacceptable.
The Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic: The fist of Chuck Norris nods in acknowledgment (with the assumption knowing it could have done vastly superior) at Dwight Howard, who swatted away 8 Dino bucket attempts. Chris "You Got Served it is" Bosh managed to collect 6 rebounds, a 300% improvement from last night. The Magic won handily, 118-99, and no jump balls needed a redo, as the Raptors roll one step closer to being the worst defensive team in the history of the NBA. And no, I don't want to talk about Hedo's return to Orlando because he sucks and this story is stupidly forced by sports media.
-The Raptors had 4 players in double figures, led by Chris Bosh with 20 points, 6 rebounds
-Hedo Turkoglu, in his first game back in Orlando after signing with the Raptors, had 14 points on 2 of 7 shooting along with 4 assists
-All 11 Magic players who saw action scored; only Adonal Foyle did not see action
11-17 and 2nd in the Atlantic Division, man, does this division ever suck. Defensively, you never know what you're going to get from these Raptors, and tonight, the Raps had no defense at all. The Magic shot about 70% for like three quarters of last night's game.
But hey, there's still New Jersey on Friday right? Actually…Jack Armstrong got it right, this team is so unpredictable and no game is a lock.
Chris Bosh is not happy with the Toronto Raptors. And that's not good for the Raptors.
Bosh, their franchise player who can leave as an unrestricted free agent this summer, was second-guessing the Raptors' strategy after getting drilled in back-to-back games by the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.
"We make adjustments with teams before we play the game. That sends the wrong message to ourselves,'' Bosh said after losing to the Magic, 118-99, Wednesday night. "We practice all the time so we should trust our system. We need to go out there and play hard. If they beat us for one quarter doing the things we normally do, then okay. Now we can change it up.''
Instead I'll just point out something I found so funny yet so sad. With the Raptors behind by 13 points, about, oh what, the second quarter(?), Leo Rautins was enthusiastically stating something like "The Raptors shouldn't get too down on themselves, they're right in this game!" Now, I must point out that I actually like Leo Rautins – probably the only guy out there that does. But at this point, we're like the abused wife who's about get beat up by her abusive husband yet again and we're clinging on to positives like "well…I only have ONE black eye so far, this isn't SO BAD!"
Also we talk about this team and it's lack of defense and inconsistency. In addition 2 players that Jack had said he has been personally disappoint with in Hedo and Marco. Along with some thoughts on the Raptors point guard situation once Jose Calderon returns. Which is still very much up in the air. This along with what I reference as the Elephant in the room in Chris Bosh's contract status in the midst of this down period for the basketball team.
Hedo Turkoglu speaks to the media about facing his former team following the Raptors' loss to the Magic.
Andrea Bargnani speaks with the media following the Raptors' loss to the Magic.
Chris Bosh speaks with the media following the Raptors' loss to the Magic.
- “Toronto was dismantled by a better team. The Magic are so deep … so talented.”
- “There’s nothing left to say. See ya Friday night against New Jersey.”
THE FAN presents all of the highlights (1) and Eric Smith's game recap (2) from Wednesday's 118-99 Magic win, in which the Raptors came out flat for the second straight night. The Raptors are back on THE FAN Friday at seven, when the Dinos host the New Jersey Nets!
The first-year Raptor joins Paul and Eric prior to Wednesday night's game in Orlando to discuss his first game back in his former stomping grounds, the Raptors' two home losses to the Magic this season, and how teammates tend to react to players returning to their former home arenas.