Raptors hold off Magic rally for 108-103 win, give Orlando 3rd straight loss

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Finally comfortable with one another, the Toronto Raptors have climbed back to the .500 level with a string of impressive results.
Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh had 18 points apiece, and the Raptors nearly blew an 18-point fourth quarter lead before holding off the Orlando Magic for a 108-103 victory Wednesday night.
"I think everybody knows everybody else better now," said Hedo Turkoglu, who came to Toronto in a sign-and-trade deal from Orlando in the off-season. "We're kind of getting comfortable with each other, and it's starting to show."
Turkoglu added 17 points to help the Raptors win for the seventh time in their last eight games and improve their record to 18-18. They also got a boost with five points from Jose Calderon in his return from a hip strain.
Vince Carter's dunk with 43.4 seconds remaining trimmed Toronto's lead to two. But J.J. Redick missed a three-pointer in the final seconds that could have tied the score.
Elsewhere in the NBA it was: Cleveland 121 Washington 98; Atlanta 119 New Jersey 89; Boston 112 Miami 106 (OT); New Orleans 97 Oklahoma City 92; Golden State 107 Minnesota 101; San Antonio 112 Detroit 92; Utah 117 Memphis 94; Phoenix 118 Houston 110; and Los Angeles Clippers 102 Los Angeles Lakers 91.
At Orlando, Fla., Redick finished with 22 points, and Dwight Howard had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who have lost three straight for the first time this season.
The reigning Eastern Conference champions are in such a rut that Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said his team was "lifeless" during the latest defeat. Forward Brandon Bass even told the team at halftime that it looked "shell-shocked" because it couldn't believe what was happening to it.
"My point is it's not happening to us. Some things happen to you. Those things are out of your control. We're the ones doing this. We're the actors," Van Gundy said. "We've got to change this around. It's us and we've got to do it. It's not going to happen because we miraculously do it. It's going to happen because we make it happen."
Toronto made this one sting.
After trailing by 18 points heading into the fourth quarter, Bass made two consecutive shots to cut Toronto's lead to 90-80. Then the Raptors again went ahead big.
But again, the Magic rallied.
Redick's free throws capped 11 straight points by the Magic to cut the deficit to a mere two points with 1:17 left. They just couldn't get one more stop - or rebound.
A missed three-pointer by Turkoglu went out of bounds on Orlando. Only a missed free throw by Jarrett Jack allowed Redick the chance to tie the game.
"It felt good off my hands. It was lined up. Everything looked good," Redick said. "It just went short."
It was the first time the Magic lost three straight regular-season games since April 10-13, when they rested starters preparing for the playoffs. All three of their latest defeats - to Chicago, Indiana and Toronto - were to teams that had losing records.
Mired in frustration, many Magic players - including Carter, Rashard Lewis, Matt Barnes and Jason Williams - left the locker-room without speaking to reporters, rare for the usually calm veterans. But those who stayed said nobody is pointing fingers.
"I think that the problem is everybody," Redick said, bluntly.
Toronto got a quick slap in the face - literally - and never looked back.
Barnes extended his left arm on a layup attempt in the first quarter, inadvertently swatting Bosh in the nose and mouth. Bosh left the game briefly with a bloody nose, and Barnes was called for a foul.
The Raptors didn't bleed much after that.
They smothered Orlando defensively in the second quarter, with things getting so bad that Vince Carter's jumper hit the side of the backboard. Toronto scored 11 straight points late in the half, capped by a three-pointer by Jack that helped it go ahead 56-45.
But they were just beginning.
The Raptors slowly pulled away to take an 86-68 lead at the end of the third quarter on a jumper by Sonny Weems. Some Magic fans covered their face, and a chorus of boos were hit against the home team for one of the few times in Orlando, giving Toronto reason all the more reason to smile.
"I think we are just figuring out how to play together," Bosh said. "We are finally getting it on defence and rebounding a lot better. Everything right now is clicking for us. We just have to keep it rolling."
Cavaliers 121 Wizards 98
At Cleveland, LeBron James piled up 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in just three quarters as the Cavaliers rolled over the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards played without the suspended Gilbert Arenas.
Hawks 119 Nets 89
At Atlanta, Jamal Crawford and the Hawks used one of their best shooting nights of the season to end a four-game losing streak and beat the struggling Nets.
Celtics 112 Heat 106 (OT)
At Miami, Rajon Rondo scored 25 points, including a buzzer-beating layup after catching Paul Pierce's lob at the end of regulation, and the Celtics got a wild overtime win over the Heat.
Hornets 97 Thunder 92
At Oklahoma City, David West scored 19 points, Chris Paul had 14 points and 13 assists and the Hornets moved above .500 for the first time this season by defeating the Thunder.
Warriors 107 Timberwolves 101
At Minneapolis, Monta Ellis had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 38 minutes as the Warriors snapped an eight-game road losing streak with a victory over the Timberwolves.
Spurs 112 Pistons 92
At San Antonio, Tony Parker and Roger Mason Jr. keyed a decisive run early in the fourth quarter as the Spurs sent the Pistons to their 11th consecutive loss.
Jazz 117 Grizzlies 94
At Salt Lake City, C.J. Miles scored a season-high 24 points and Carlos Boozer added 20 to help the Jazz overcome the absence of Deron Williams and beat the Grizzlies.
Suns 118 Rockets 110
At Phoenix, Victoria's Steve Nash scored 26 points and had 12 assists, Amare Stoudemire added 25 points and 11 rebounds, and the Suns squandered a 16-point lead before rallying from a 16-point deficit to beat the Rockets.
Clippers 102 Lakers 91
At Los Angeles, Baron Davis scored 25 points and the resurgent Clippers rallied to hold off the Lakers, snapping a nine-game losing streak in the so-called battle of Los Angeles.

Organizations: Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Lakers Washington Wizards Celtics Hornets Timberwolves

Geographic location: Toronto, Orlando, Oklahoma City Golden Orlando, Fla. Chicago Indiana Los Angeles Cleveland Atlanta Miami Minneapolis San Antonio Salt Lake City Phoenix Victoria

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