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Raptors rally comes up short; Nelson scores 30 in Magic win

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The Canadian Press
11/1/2009 6:42:57 PM
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TORONTO -- This wasn't quite the reception Hedo Turkoglu had hoped the Toronto Raptors would give his old friends and former Orlando teammates.

Jameer Nelson scored 30 points, while J.J. Redick added a career-high 27 to lead the Magic to a 125-116 win Sunday over Toronto, Turkoglu's first game against his former team since the July trade that landed him in a Raptors jersey.

"It was good to see them but I wanted a different way to send them home," said Turkoglu, who helped the Magic to the NBA finals last season.

Chris Bosh had 35 points and 16 rebounds to top Toronto (1-2), while Andrea Bargnani finished with 26 points. Turkoglu, the key piece of a four-team, eight player trade in the off-season, added 19 points, and Jose Calderon finished with 10.

Dwight Howard had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic (3-0), who were playing without former Raptors star Vince Carter. Ryan Anderson finished with 20 points, while Matt Barnes had 12 points, nine boards and six steals.

The Magic had the hot hand from long-range all afternoon, draining seven three-pointers in a first-quarter barrage en route to 17 in the game.

"If they're makings threes, we can switch up the gameplan, but they had a lot of wide-open threes and that's what killed us," Bosh said. "I think it's just doing things with more energy and more aggression. We came out flat, we let them hit us first, and they hit a couple of threes. Next thing I know they're feeding it into Dwight, and then they get layups."

Last year's Eastern Conference champs led from early in the first quarter and were ahead by as much as 22 points midway through the second and barely looked back.

"It's a good lesson for us to learn," Turkoglu said. "We should have jumped on them early, we didn't want to be chasing at home in front of our fans. We have to learn from these games, especially being a young team."

Orlando took an 81-68 lead into the fourth quarter in front of 18,147 fans at the Air Canada Centre when the Raptors finally showed some signs of life. A driving layup by Turkoglu, followed by a dunk by Bosh cut the deficit to four points with 5:27 to go. Bargnani, who had just four points in the first half, had a strong finish, his back-to-back baskets pulling the Raptors to within 115-111 with 4:05 to play.

But Anderson responded with a dunk followed by a Howard layup and Orlando was back up by eight with 2:26 to go, pulling away over the final two minutes.

"What we said before that game was the tendency tends to be when you are missing people, people try to do too much and we said you have to play your own game," said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy. "You can't play Vince's game or anything else but you have to play your game at a very high level and those guys did."

There were some heated moments late in the fourth between Bosh and Howard, good friends off the court and teammates on the U.S. Olympic team. Bosh grabbed the hulking Orlando centre around the neck in a battle under the hoop, and Howard was clearly not pleased as the two hollered at each other.

"I love it, good basketball," Bosh said after. "It's just a hard foul, there's no hard feelings or anything, I didn't want him to have a chance to make the basket so I wrapped him up. I'm trying to win basketball games, and if it takes a hard foul to do it, then so be it."

Howard shrugged off the scuffle after the game.

"I am accustomed to getting fouled," he said. "Does it hurt sometimes, yes. I just try to not retaliate but sometimes it does get frustrating. It is not who it is. I just try my best to not allow it to affect my game."

Carter, meanwhile, sat out the game with an ankle injury, avoiding the boos that greet him every time he plays in Toronto. Carter, who was acquired by Orlando in the off-season in the move that allowed Toronto to sign Turkoglu, sprained his left ankle in the second quarter of the Magic's 95-85 win at New Jersey on Friday.

"He tried to go, he can go straight ahead," Van Gundy said before the game. "He said if he didn't have to play any defence, he would be fine. I've had some guys before who didn't play any defence. It's generally not something we encourage."

The Magic was also without swingman Mickael Pietrus who missed the game with an illness and flew home before tipoff.

Turns out the Magic didn't need Carter. The Raptors defence, clearly still a work in progress, looked out of sync all afternoon, and was ineffective against Orlando's long-range shooting. Their answer for Howard was to send the hulking centre to the free-throw line -- but that backfired as he only missed two shots.

"If you take away the shooters as we tried later, then Dwight Howard goes crazy inside or we foul him like we did and play the odds the right way," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "He is a 50 per cent free throw shooter and he had a great night, he went 14-for-16."

The Raptors' loss came despite 54 per cent shooting from the floor, compared to 44 per cent for Orlando. Toronto also outrebounded the Magic 38-37.

The Magic couldn't miss from three-point range from the opening tip-off, with Anderson accounting for three of Orlando's first-quarter threes. Nelson's first of a pair of threes in the quarter put the Magic up 29-18 with just under two minutes to go, and Orlando led 36-28 heading into the second.

Redick's three five minutes into the second quarter gave Orlando a 54-22 lead before the Raptors finally showed some life, cutting the difference to nine points with a 16-3 run. Orlando took a 64-53 advantage into the dressing room at halftime.

Nelson had 13 points in the third as the Magic stretched their lead to 16 points, but Toronto battled back one again with a 15-5 run to come within six. Orlando took a 99-89 lead into the fourth.

NOTES: Bosh picked up a technical foul for arguing with officials in the first quarter. . . Orlando's Matt Barnes was given a technical after getting tangled up with Bargnani after a free throw. . . The Raptors split last season's series with Orlando. . . The Raptors are home to Detroit on Wednesday, then depart for a three-game road trip that takes them through New Orleans, Dallas and San Antonio.

Bosh argues (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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