The Toronto Raptors

aagz193_16x20-2006logotoronto-raptors-posters1The Toronto Raptors have now won five games in a row, I’ve followed this team since they became an expansion. No season have me more frustrated like this one, so much potential big expectations what a let down.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Chris Bosh had 24 points, including a 22-footer over Dwight Howard with 29 seconds left that put the game out of reach, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 99-95 on Wednesday night.

Jose Calderon had 21 points, and Shawn Marion added 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Raptors, who nearly blew an 11-point lead before holding on to extend their season-high winning streak to five games. Rashard Lewis missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to seal Toronto’s win.

Dwight Howard had 30 points and nine rebounds for Orlando (55-19), which fell percentage points behind Boston for the Eastern Conference’s second seed. The Magic host first-place Cleveland on Friday night in a game that lost has now lost some of its luster.

The Raptors made sure of that.

Marion had consecutive fast-break dunks, and Calderon hit a 3-pointer after a three-point play to cap a 15-3 run that gave the Raptors an 11-point lead with a minute left in the third quarter. It was the largest lead for either team in an up-and-down game that had 21 lead changes and little defense.

But it would quickly evaporate.

Hedo Turkoglu made a 3-pointer, then converted a three-point play after being fouled by Joey Graham on a driving layup to cut Toronto’s lead to 84-81 early in the fourth quarter. But Toronto’s 26 made free throws to Orlando’s 13 proved too much.

The Raptors shot nearly 70 percent in the opening quarter, making nine of their first 10 shots. The Magic also shot an impressive 55.6 percent, but Andrea Bargnani’s 12 points in the period helped put Toronto ahead 32-28.

The scoring would settle in the second.

Neither team could pull away in an up-and-down first half that saw 15 lead changes. The Magic went on a 10-2 run that gave them a 43-40 lead, but it wouldn’t last. Anthony Parker hit a 3-pointer in the waning seconds that helped put the Raptors ahead 53-52 at the half.

Notes:@ In an April Fool’s joke that left everyone but the contestant laughing, the Magic made a fan think he was shooting a half-court shot for $100,000 at halftime. The fan was blindfolded, and the crowd was told beforehand to cheer as if he made the shot. The young contestant, named Dan, missed badly but believed he won and danced around the court in a frenzy. Before being told it was a joke and showed the replay he said, “I just got laid off at work.” He was given a 100 Grand Bar of candy instead but was not laughing. … The Magic eliminated the Raptors in the first round of last year’s playoffs, winning the series 4-1.


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