Monday, April 28, 2008

Howard powers Magic as Orlando eliminate Toronto

Dwight Howard had his third 20-20 of the series as the Orlando Magic overpowered the Toronto Raptors 102-92 and won the best of seven series 4-1 on Monday night in Orlando. Howard had 21 points, 21 rebounds and 3 block shots & it was his 10th offensive rebound and put back with 4 minutes remaining after Chris Bosh and Jason Kapono fumbled a rebound that effectively ended Toronto's challenge and their season.
All 5 starters for Orlando scored in double figures on the night that Hedo Turkoglu was awarded the leagues' Most Improved Player. He narrowly missed a triple double and finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists.
Jameer Nelson backed up his solid game 4 performance and hit a clutch 3 pointer with 2.57 remaining which stretched Orlando's lead to 10, 92-82.
The Raptors were led by Chris Bosh with 16 points and 9 rebounds and again got good support from their bench with Jason Kapono(13 points), Carlos Delfino(14 points) and Jose Calderon(12 points) all scoring in double figures.
Orlando opened up an early 10-2 lead within the first 3 minutes and Toronto called a time out to try to prevent Orlando from putting the Raptors in a hole again as they had done in games 1 & 2 of this series. And it worked as Toronto fought back and behind two 3-pointers from reserve Jose Calderon including one as time expired, gave the Raptors a 26-22 lead after the first period.
At one stage, the Raptors built their lead to 7, 34-27 during the second period but Orlando managed to trim the deficit to 1 at half-time 50-49, with Dwight Howard having already registered a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
In the final quarter, the Raptors were trailing by 7 when Dwight Howard was called for his fifth foul, and with still 4 minutes remaining, Toronto might have had a chance if they could have got Howard eliminated, but they sat back and didn't attack him and apart from a 3 point heave from Anthony Parker, Toronto's other shots fell short and their season ended.
Orlando now awaits the winner of the Detroit Pistons Vs Philadelphia 76ers series, which currently stands at 2 games apiece while Toronto head home to lament a season that started promisingly, but again ended shorter than they would have hoped and expected.

1 comment:

Benchwarmer said...

The last paragraph captured some of my personal frustrations. It's my belief that the Raps lack a closer. Bosh is definitely a star in this league, but based more on his work-horse abilities (ala Doc Halladay). The Raps would do best by complimenting his solid skill with a closer - someone that knows what to do with the ball in the last few seconds. I know they're few and far between, but I'm sure someone out there that fits the bill.
I'm hoping for an active off-season by Colangelo, because we're not there yet...not close.