Sunday, April 27, 2008

Orlando look to close out series at home

The Toronto Raptors got a career playoff high from Chris Bosh with 39 points, but it wasn’t enough to propel them past the Orlando Magic as they lost 106 – 94 in front of another sellout crowd of 20,416 at the ACC this afternoon. Toronto now find themselves in a hole, down 3-1 in their best of seven series, with game 5 back in Orlando on Monday.
Jameer Nelson torched the Raptors for 12 points in the final quarter & had 19 for the match, & it was his 2 huge 3-pointers down the stretch which drained the life out of Toronto and gave the edge & the lead to Orlando. Nelson was something of an injury concern coming into this game after suffering back spasms at the end of game 3, but he showed no signs of ill health today and single handedly outplayed Toronto’s point guard tandem of TJ Ford and Jose Calderon.
Rashard Lewis had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Magic and he also drilled a killer 3 pointer with just over a minute & a half remaining in the final quarter that put the final nail in Toronto’s coffin. Dwight Howard had another strong performance with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 8 blocked shots, although he did struggle from the free-throw line, making only 1 of his 6 attempts. Toronto’s fans doing their best to make every trip to the line a nightmare for Howard.
After a relatively quiet game 3, Chris Bosh was aggressive from the start of this game and 9 of his team high 15 rebounds came on the offensive end, but as a team, Toronto shot poorly, especially from the 3 point line, going an anemic 2-15, or 13%.
Anthony Parker, TJ Ford and Jason Kapono each had 12 points for the Raptors, but Toronto missed the usual solid performance from Jose Calderon who struggled badly today had only 2 points and 5 assists.
Toronto now faces the daunting task of trying to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series. If history is any guide then the Raptors know that while the task is unlikely, it is not impossible. There has been 8 teams in NBA history to have come back to win a best of seven series after trailing 3-1, the most recent being in 2006, when the LA Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns.

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