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Howard's Monster Night Sinks Raptors In Magic Kingdom
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Raptors 99 118 Heat
Jay Satur
December 16, 2009
Amway Arena
Orlando, FL


As it has been in virtually every game where the Raptors surrender more than 100 points, it was over early. With the Magic hovering around a 70 per cent shooting clip throughout most of the first half, the Raptors were merely trying to hang on. They were right there close to halftime thanks in large part to Hedo Turkoglu, who made all eight of his second-quarter free throw attempts to help cut the Magic lead to 54-49 with 3:54 to play before the break.

But the Raptors' inability to get stops bit them once again, as a Magic ended the quarter on a 12-5 run to restore a double-digit lead they wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way.



A dominant performance from Magic pivot Dwight Howard, who doled out all kinds of abuse at both ends of the floor on Wednesday and narrowly missed a triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds and a season-high eight blocks. Howard was a load on offence -- punishing the rim on lob passes and using some impressive post-up moves in halfcourt sets. But it was his block party on defence that drew post-game praise.

"He gives the other players a chance to really get into their opponent, knowing if we get beat he has our back," said Magic forward Matt Barnes. "That's a good security blanket to have back there."


Another night where it proved extremely difficult to find a worthy Raptors representative for this space. None of the starters seemed to raise their games on the road and there was little relief from the reserves who failed to provide the necessary spark to climb back into the game.

That being said, we'll recognize the latest solid bench effort from Sonny Weems, who continues to make the most of his increased opportunity. The energetic swingman had eight points on four-of-eight shooting, with one assist, one rebound and two steals in 14:24 of work.


The offensive numbers from the Magic are indicative of the major improvements the Raptors still need to make on the defensive side of the ball.

Toronto allowed Orlando to set a season-high in field goal percentage in a half as they shot at a .686 clip in the first two quarters (24-for-35). Orlando also set a season-high in field goal percentage for the game (.573) by hitting 43-of-75 shots overall. Six Magic players scored in double-figures and they matched a season-high by dishing out 28 assists.


"We just had a hard time keeping guys in front of us all night. It wasnt so much their main guys. It was guys coming in, Anthony Johnson off the bench, Matt Barnes. They just seemed to be able to go past our guys. I know you have to get a little bit extended because of the threat that this team is going to shoot the ball, but you still have a hard time keeping guys in front. When that one guy comes and someone tries to help, they kick it for another 3. We were a half step behind trying to keep guys in front of us.

- Jay Triano on his team's defensive energy.


Fri., Dec. 18 vs. New Jersey
7:00 PM ET (TSN2, FAN 590)

The Raptors (11-17) host the rebuilding Nets (2-24) in their first meeting of the season Friday night at Air Canada Centre. It's just the second divisional matchup for the Raptors and their first at home this season. Last season saw a split in the season series, with both teams winning on the road twice. There's been ample change for both squads since that point, with the Nets electing to build around younger players like Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, Chris-Douglas Roberts and Courtney Lee.

The Numbers
14-0 Differential in blocks favouring the Magic.
19 Number of double-doubles on the season for Dwight Howard, who now trails Chris Bosh for the league lead in that category by two
16-4 Fast break points favouring the Magic
8-1 Orlando's record this season when six of their players score in double-figures
46.7 Magic shooting percentage from three-point range after they connected on 14-of-30 attempts.
They Said It...
Hedo Turkoglu It always feels good to see all the fans. It is great to see them. I was here for five years so there are a lot of good memories. I wish we could have gone back to Toronto with better results basketball wise.- Hedo Turkoglu on his return to Orlando.
Dwight Howard "I just feel that weve got to get better defensively and it starts with me. Im telling guys, let them come in the paint and instead of fouling; just Ill come there and erase the mistakes." - Dwight Howard, on his eight blocks against the Raptors.
Chris Bosh "We are all over the place (defensively) right now. When that usually happens when we lose a game it is because guys dont know what they are doing,.we are not talking on defense and all the things we can do to help ourselves out we just are not doing." - Chris Bosh on the Raptors defensively.
Fantasy Alert
7.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.7 APG

Notes: Matt Barnes had a fantastic performance off the bench for the Magic. Factor in his 20 points, his efficiency (7-10 FGM-A), six assists, three rebounds plus two treys, and fantasy owners who started him will be pleasantly surprised when they check his line on Thursday.
Jarrett Jack
9.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 4.2 APG

Notes: A bounce back effort of sorts for Jarrett Jack who's making a case to be picked up in deeper leagues. The FG% wasn't great after a 6-of-15 shooting night, but he finished with 13 points, three rebounds, a three-pointer and a steal to go with a team-high five assists.