Jay Satur January 6, 2010
The Raptors saw their 18-point lead to start the fourth cut down to 103-101 after a Vince Carter dunk with 43 seconds to play. Jarrett Jack was fouled to put the Raptors into the bonus and hit one of two free throws to give Toronto a 104-101 lead with 17 seconds remaining.
After JJ Redick missed the game-tying three at the other end, Chris Bosh grabbed the rebound, was fouled and hit two free throws to ice it. A vital, gutsy win to avoid a series sweep to a potential playoff opponent and get back to the .500 mark.
Much like last year, Andrea Bargnani has appeared to round into form with the change in the calendar year and that continued Wednesday as he scored 18 points to share team-high honours with Bosh.
Bargnani was big in the Raptors' 35-point second quarter with 10 points and added two crucial back-to-back threes down the stretch in the fourth. But his defence was even better, as he served as the lone defender on Dwight Howard (who had nine turnovers and five fouls) until Bargnani fouled out with just over a minute to play.
With Bosh frequently seeing a second defender on Wednesday, the Raptors took advantage with great ball movement that frequently resulted in DeMar DeRozan getting open looks.
The rookie swingman made the Magic pay by knocking down his six first shot attempts from the floor -- all coming via the mid-range jump shot -- and he missed just one after that. That makes three double-digit scoring efforts in four games for DeRozan, who appears to be finding his way offensively.
"For the most part we're holding teams to a low percentage shooting. Tonight may not be that indicative of the Magic because they're on a back-to-back, but they shot 41 per cent and we've been holding teams to a low percentage shooting the ball. That's how you're going to win games is playing better defence and we've been doing that a lot. We feel good about it, but again the Magic were on a back-to-back and we took advantage of that situation."
- Jay Triano on what's changed since the last visit to Orlando.
Fri., Jan. 8 @
Philadelphia 7:00 PM ET (TSN, FAN 590)
GAME NOTES: The Raptors (18-18) try and move above the .500 mark when they make their first visit of the season to Philadelphia to face the 76ers. The Raptors split the 2008-09 season series 2-2, with Chris Bosh averaging 24.0 points and 8.75 rebounds in four games. The Sixers went on to push the Magic to six games in the first round of last year's playoffs, but it hasn't carried over to 2009-10. They sit at 10-24, but have played well against the Atlantic Division with a 4-2 record.
Number of Raptors scoring in double-figures on Wednesday.
Raptors' record when holding opponents to under 50 points in the first half.
Raptors' record with Wednesday's win, the first time they've been .500 or better since Nov. 13.
Offensive rebounding totals favouring the Magic.
Assist totals favouring the Raptors.
"We did not want them to shoot threes. We wanted them to go one-on-one. We wanted Dwight to score points... I just tried to push him off the block and make me face up and stay in front of him."- Andrea Bargnani on defending Dwight Howard.
"We're just not putting enough into it for long enough periods of time, I think that's the fourth time in the last five games that we've had double-figure turnovers in the first half. I mean, we're just not doing what it takes to win games." - Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, on his team's recent slide.
"Just being able to play with these (Magic) guys shows we are a confident team and we can be good if we will ourselves to win. We just have to continue to work hard, believe in ourselves and stay composed." - Chris Bosh on the win.