Magic top Raptors 118-99 in Turkoglu’s return
By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
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
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