Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Raptors closer, but fall short again.

Another monster 20-20 performance by Dwight Howard and a 19 foot jump shot by Chris Bosh that came up short as time expired, gave the Orlando Magic a 104-103 win and a 2 games to 0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors.
This game started in similar circumstances to game 1 with Orlando building 17 point lead after the first period. This time though, it wasn’t 3 pointers that Orlando used to propel them to the double digit lead, it was by attacking the rim as they had 5 dunks on their first 7 scoring plays.
Toronto’s offense was again tentative and they committed a horrific 7 turnovers in the first 8 minutes. But behind strong play from their leader, Chris Bosh (29points, 10 rebounds) and previously out-of-form sharpshooter, Jason Kapono (20points, 4-6 3pt fg’s) the Raptors fought back and only trailed 59-57 at halftime.
Things livened up in the second half as Toronto carried the momentum over into the 3rd period and took their first lead of the game 61-59 to quiet the raucous home crowd but they wouldn’t be able to keep it for long. Stan Van Gundy immediately called a time out and Orlando quickly reclaimed the lead and took an 83-78 lead into the final stanza.
Neither team could establish authority for long in the 4th but 2 huge 3-pointers by Keith Bogans pushed the Magic to a 7 point lead, only for Carlos Delfino and Jose Calderon to reply with one 3 pointer each.
Having trailed most of the game, the Raptors then took the lead 101-100 after Delfino split a pair of free throws but a wild lay up from Hedo Turkoglu reclaimed the lead, and he followed that up with 2 free throws after Delfino had again replied with a lay up for Toronto. With 9.6 seconds remaining and in possession, Orlando looked to close this one out, but an offensive foul by Keyon Dooling gave the ball to Toronto and a chance to win the game and even the series. The Raptors called a timeout and ran a play for Chris Bosh but with Dwight Howard defending, his shot fell short and time ran out.
If the Raptors are to get back into this series, they must start the game stronger and coach Sam Mitchell hinted that the Raptors are likely to make changes for game 3. TJ Ford has struggled mightily with his shot and is only 2-17 for the series and could be replaced by Jose Calderon who has finished both games.
The intensity of the series lifted a notch with Hedo Tukoglu being assessed a flagrant foul 1 after he sent Chris Bosh tumbling on a fast break in the 2nd period and Dwight Howard picked up a technical foul after being fouled by Carlos Delfino in the 3rd period.

No comments: