Magic top Raptors 118-99 in Turkoglu’s return

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ

Associated Press Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Dwight Howard had

18 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks, and the Orlando Magic spoiled

Hedo Turkoglu’s return with a 118-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors

on Wednesday night.

Rashard Lewis added 21 points and

Matt Barnes had 20 to help the Magic cruise to their second straight

win with some potent 3-point shooting. Orlando was 14 for 30 from

beyond the arc.

Turkoglu was showered with a mix of

cheers and boos and scored 14 points in the arena where he was a fan

favorite before parting ways in the offseason. He also had four

rebounds and four assists, not nearly enough to prevent the Raptors

from losing for the fourth time in five games.

Led by their big man, the Magic turned things into a high-flying affair.

They had a series of slams and

blocks, with Howard starting things in the first quarter with a

two-handed, alley-oop dunk from Vince Carter that took Toronto players

crowded around the rim by surprise. Howard had another high-flying slam

in the second quarter that started a three-point play on a pass Anthony

Johnson just lobbed up for grabs, letting his big man finish over Amir

Johnson.

Howard swatted shot after shot on the

other end. He had fans dodging balls in the stands at near the rate of

the burritos being chucked into seats with pressurized guns between

timeouts by the arena’s entertainment crew.

There were plenty more highlights.

Barnes sliced through the lane to add

a one-handed, rim-rattler that Chris Bosh didn’t have a chance to

contest. Even with all the powerful finishes that brought fans to their

feet, Orlando could only push its lead to 11 points early.

There was a familiar face that kept things close.

Not quite the pick-and-roll point

forward who led the Magic in scoring in the NBA finals last season,

Turkoglu still managed to get things done for Toronto. He was potent

from outside and clever at drawing fouls – 8-for-8 from the line in the

first half – to help the Raptors trim the deficit to five.

It was the first time Turkoglu

played in Orlando since opting out of the final year of his contract

with the Magic, who acquired Carter in a trade with New Jersey just

prior. Orlando then sent Turkoglu to Toronto in a sign-and-trade deal,

parting ways with a popular player who teammates called “Mr. Fourth

Quarter” for his late-game heroics.

This time, the Magic fared just fine without “Turk.”

A pair of 3-pointers by Lewis late

in the half capped a Magic run that made Turkoglu’s efforts disappear,

going ahead 66-54 at intermission. And before the Raptors could mount

any kind of rally, the Magic threw in a few more acrobatics.

Howard and Carter hooked up again in

the third quarter, when Orlando’s do-it-all center cut down the

baseline, skied high to take the pass and finished with a one-handed

slam that pushed the Magic’s lead to 81-64. And the rout was on.

NOTES: Turkoglu spent the last few

minutes before the game warming up on the Magic’s end of the court,

taking shots with his former teammates. … Magic reserve center Adonal

Foyle was active for the first time since he had arthroscopic surgery

on his right knee in October. … Raptors coach Jay Triano will

participate in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic torch relay Thursday.

Updated December 16, 2009