Denton: Magic-Raptors Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
April 3, 2011

In the grand scheme of things, the game meant very little to the Orlando Magic. But, still, Sunday night’s loss to the woeful Toronto Raptors seemed to defy all sort of logic for a stunned Magic squad.

Facing a Toronto team that had lost six games in a row, was playing on the second night of a back-to-back and was without its two best players, Orlando seemed to have a gimme – especially after jumping to an eight-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

But when the Raptors keep pounding the glass and getting big shots from their guards and the Magic faded badly down the stretch it resulted in a puzzling 102-98 defeat for Orlando at the Air Canada Centre.

Orlando (48-29) lost because it got outrebounded 48-30 by a Toronto team that was without 7-footer Andrea Bargnani and point guard Jose Calderon. The Raptors (21-55) grabbed 15 offensive boards, three of them coming in the final two minutes to keep possessions alive that doomed the Magic.

``You get outrebounded by 18 and you give up 21 second-chance points and 14 fastbreak points to two … I mean, look, they deserved to win,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy fumed. ``One team played a lot harder than the other team so they win. I can understand our guys being tired at the end, but we weren’t ready to play in the first quarter. They wanted to win and we didn’t care, so they won.’’

Magic superstar center Dwight Howard had a game-high 31 points, but his double-double streak ended at 33 games when he grabbed just nine rebounds. Howard started the streak on Jan. 21 coincidentally against the Raptors.

The Magic had no answer for DeMar DeRozan (24 points) and Jerryd Bayless (23 points) and the rebounding work of Reggie Evans (17 boards). Also, an Orlando team that was again without J.J. Redick (lower abdominal strain), Gilbert Arenas (flu) and Chris Duhon (sprained thumb) ran out of gas late in the game, getting outscored 29-19 in the fourth quarter.

Jameer Nelson scored 21 points, while Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass each chipped in 13 points. Hedo Turkoglu, who was booed each time he touched the ball in his first regular-season game back in Toronto following his one disappointing season with the Raptors in 2009-10, had 11 points.

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Sunday’s game at the Air Canada Centre: