Incredibly, Orlando wasn’t called for its first foul in the fourth quarter until one minute remained.
Mind you, the Raptors weren’t exactly aggressive, preferring to move the ball on the perimeter, but no fouls in 11 minutes raises eyebrows.
More damning was the 10-0 disparity in Orlando’s favour when it came to fouls, a factor that may have contributed to Toronto’s lethargy.
“It slowed the game down,’’ Chris Bosh said.
Bosh had a quiet night, but a late possession that sent him to the line, where he converted, was one of many key plays the Raptors finally made in preserving their win, a victory that comes on the heels of another quality win when they beat San Antonio on Sunday.
“We came out with a focus, a different mentality where we hit first,’’ said Jarrett Jack, who provided some late-game suspense after he missed an attempt from the charity stripe. “We have to keep rolling.”
The Raptors didn't have to make a roster move in the wake of Jose Calderon returning to the lineup following a hip injury. When the team released Pops Mensah-Bonsu on Tuesday, a roster spot became available. Calderon entered the game with 1:49 left in the first quarter and made his first shot when he buried an open three-pointer in the second quarter.
If they use it – and they are going to because, believe it or not, the coaches don’t take advice from us – the primary ball-handling duties have to be Calderon’s.
He’s got better skills in that department than Jack and he makes better decisions.
So any time Hedo isn’t initiating the offence, it has to Jose.
Oh, and would the dozens and dozens and dozens of you who swore up and down that that’s a better team with Jack and Marcus Banks as the point guards than it is with Calderon and Jack please explain your thinking to us again.
Two of the biggest baskets of the night came when Calderon drove right, got right to the rim and kicked the ball out to a wide open Bargnani, who made three-pointers.
No one else on the roster makes those plays.
And there were plenty of other reasons for Raptor fans to revel in the win. How about the defence of Andrea Bargnani, the conscience-less three-point shooter whose one-on-one banging with Howard set the early tone? And how about the picture of ho-hum lassitude that was Vince Carter, the former Raptor who has under-delivered in Orlando thus far? Carter's seven points on 2-for-7 shooting were punctuated by a second-half technical foul for moaning to a referee. Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan, the Toronto rookie who famously announced himself as the second coming of Air Canada, outplayed his counterpart at shooting guard with a 12-point effort.
Best of all, how about Toronto's defence? On pace to be historically horrendous at this season's worst moments, it held the Magic to 42 per cent field-goal shooting.
Until the last two games, the Raptors' winning ways could be questioned. Before a Saturday loss to Boston, the Raptors had won five straight games, but none over teams currently in playoff position. But with a victory on Sunday over San Antonio, and especially with this win in Orlando, the Raptors can certainly puff out their chests, if only a little. At 18-18, it is the first time the Raptors are at .500 since they were 5-5 in mid-November.
The last time Hedo Turkoglu came to town, fans at Amway Arena had mixed reactions to him. He got cheered during introductions, but there were definite boos during the game when he got the ball.
Stan Van Gundy had a pretty strong reaction to that after the game. He said he couldn’t imagine how any real Magic fan could boo Turkoglu.
I’m sure a lot of you are on either side — the booing side and the cheering side. When he comes back to town what do you remember? Do you remember his departure, or all the good times before that?
Hedo Turkoglu scores 17 against his former team to lead Raptors
Biggest win of the year?
In a game full of ups and downs the Raptors beat Orlando to continue their current hot-streak.
The HQ breaks down last night's win.
My buddy Kic is a big Raptors fan, so I asked him to chime in on the Raps periodically.
Here's his mid-season report card for our Toronto Raptors.
In a rumor being discussed on 670 the Score, the Chicago Bulls would send Kirk Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas, and draft picks to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Chris Bosh.
Now the positive that this rumor has going for it, is that the trade works under the collective bargaining agreement. However, the positives of this rumor end there, as someone would have to be a fool to believe there is any validity to this rumor.
The Raptors would be trading for a scrub in Kirk Hinrich, who is shooting 36.7% from the field this year, the opportunity to give Tyrus Thomas a raise or let him walk, and a non-lottery draft pick, as the Bulls would surely make the playoffs with Bosh on the roster.
It was one thing to lose back-to-back games in Chicago and Indiana, even if the Pacers were missing half their key players. It's something else to lose at home to the Raptors, falling behind by 18 points before they picked up the pace and made it close at the end.
The Magic had 10 offensive rebounds to Toronto’s two but the two teams grabbed the same amount of total rebounds – 35, but the Raptors shot the ball very well so it didn’t really give the Magic a chance to grab a lot of boards on the defensive end.
Orlando played no defense against one of the most efficient offensive teams in the NBA. The Raptors shot an effective field goal percentage of 61.2% and the Magic shot just47.9%. The Raptors seemingly did whatever they wanted, however they wanted. They scored from all over the court, hitting 13 shots at the rim, three from inside 10 feet, one from 10-15 feet, 13-23 from 16-23 feet and nine from beyond the arc. They also had six players score in double figures with no player scoring over 18 points.
They smothered Orlando defensively in the second quarter, with things getting so bad that Vince Carter's jumper hit the side of the backboard. Toronto scored 11 straight points late in the half, capped by a three-pointer by Jarrett Jack that helped it go ahead 56-45.
But the Raptors were just beginning.
They slowly pulled away to take an 86-68 lead at the end of the third quarter on a jumper by Sonny Weems. Some Magic fans covered their face, and a chorus of boos were issued against the home team for one of the few times in Orlando, giving Toronto all the more reason to smile.
"I think we are just figuring out how to play together," Bosh said. "We are finally getting it on defence and rebounding a lot better. Everything right now is clicking for us. We just have to keep it rolling."
So Orlando's effort was there for most of the night, and they capitalized on the Raptors' silly fouls in the fourth quarter. But the Magic simply could not rotate quickly enough on the defensive end, and the Raptors punished them with excellent ball-movement and execution. With combo guard Jarrett Jack, point guard Jose Calderon, and the point forward Turkoglu on the floor together, Toronto found and exploited all the holes in Orlando's defense. 31 assists on 39 shots for Toronto, with the aforementioned trio of ballhandlers tallying 19 itself. The ball rarely "got stuck" in Toronto's offense. Few broken plays, few bad shots, and a lot of player movement. It all added up to a tidy 108 points on 91 possessions and 62.3% effective field goal shooting.
Assistant coach Brendan Malone told Stan Van Gundy the Magic looked “shell-shocked” at halftime, trailing by 10 against a Toronto Raptors team they had easily beaten three times this season.
After the Magic dropped their third straight game against a sub-.500 opponent, I think we’re all a little shell-shocked.
It’s not that a loss against the Raptors is a monumental cause for concern — they’ve won seven of eight games and it’s always difficult to beat a team four times in a row — but when you couple Wednesday’s poor performance with back-to-back losses to Chicago and Indiana, it raises your eyebrows.
Aside from the actual result, the most satisfying part of this one had to be watching baby boy Dwight Howard bicker all night with the refs. Is there a bigger whiner in the league? No, not if you ask me. Dwight: You’re a seven-foot tall freak with about 300 pounds of muscle — you should be able to dunk every time to touch the ball and block every shot that comes within a mile of you. Shut up and play the game. Oh yeah, and it was also a lot of fun watching #15 finish with a sparkling seven-point effort.
So, a surprise win in Orlando leaves the Raptors 18-18 with a pushover in Philly set for Friday. Time to get it cooking on the road? I think so, but I’ve been thinking that for awhile. To quote my pal Tim Bentum, “Let’s see what happens!”
Jay Triano speaks with the media following the Raptors' win against the Magic.
Hedo Turkoglu speaks with the media about getting his first win against his former team this season.
Andrea Bargnani speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Magic.
Chris Bosh speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Magic.
Jose Calderon speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Magic.
THE FAN presents all of the highlights (1) and Eric Smith's game recap (2) from Wednesday's 108-103 win for the Raptors in Orlando, their first in four tries against the Magic this season.
The Raps looked good up until the end of the third quarter where Dwight Howard picked up his fifth foul and the Raps finished the quarter on a 17-5 run, up 18 pts on Orlando. But in the fourth quarter, the Magic made a run, and on top of that, the Raps weren't getting any foul calls from the refs. The first Magic foul of the fourth quarter came called with one minute to play. Vince Carter got the Magic within two with less than a minute left to play, but JJ Redick's three ball came up short with nine seconds to play.
I usually have no problem if Bosh doesn't have a great night and we still win, but tonight was different. When the Magic made that furious come back from an 18-point deficit, anytime Bosh got the ball he dished it right back to the perimeter, because he was double-teamed. But he's GOT TO ask – NO – DEMAND the ball back, and ATTACK! For God's sake Howard was playing with 5 fouls too, he's not going to be super aggressive guarding you! I honestly think the game would've been over much earlier in the fourth had he just tried to take it to the hole a few more times – instead – Bosh passes it, we swing it around, and Jarrett Jack or somebody else bricks a shot..BADLY and the Magic come back and score.
- Efficient Raptors solve Magic mystery
- Gameday: Raptors vs Sixers – Jan. 8/10