Raps find old Rose magic

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

Road, sweet road.

With Jalen Rose -- yes, that Jalen Rose -- and Morris Peterson leading the way, the severely short-handed Raptors bucked the odds and continued their good play away from the Air Canada Centre.

Missing top bench man Charlie Villanueva (left calf contusion) and starting point guard Jose Calderon (right heel bruise), the Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 92-90 last night at TD Waterhouse Centre for their fourth win in their past five road games.

"We talked to our players (and said) regardless of what happens during the game, whether we're up or down, as long as the five guys and the seven guys on the bench stick together and just keep playing, keep fighting, you're going to give yourselves a chance to win," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said.

And they did just that a day after losing a 107-80 stinker Sunday at home against the Philadelphia 76ers, dropping their record at the ACC to 1-12.

With two ticks left on the shot clock and the Raptors nursing a one-point lead with 10 seconds left, Rose stood on the baseline for the inbounds. The play was designed for Chris Bosh, but he was covered, so Rose dished it to Morris Peterson at the left corner. Mo Pete hit the three with 8.2 seconds left to put the Raptors up 92-88. Game, set, match.

"Coach drew up the play for Chris to get a lob," said Peterson, who tied Bosh with a team-leading 19 points. "He just told me to fake the middle and go to the corner. When I got to the corner, I saw Jalen fake the pass and I knew he was going to come to me ... That's my bread and butter right there."

With the Raptors missing bodies, the little-used Rose finally got some regular playing time and made the most of it. The $15 million-US man scored 15 points in 34 minutes, including a 15-foot jumper with 46 seconds left to put the Raptors up by three.

"It's a funny league, I tell ya," a smiling Rose said.

Mitchell also had to give major minutes to little-used forward/centre Aaron Williams and third-string point guard Darrick Martin. Martin and Williams both did well and didn't try to do too much. Martin had seven assists and Williams scored eight points and helped contain Dwight Howard and Tony Battie.

Matt Bonner also did a fine job rebounding and guarding Battie down the stretch. Five Raptors scored in double figures.

Steve Francis led the Magic with 20 points. Orlando led by as much as 13 in the first quarter, but the Raptors refused to wilt and fought back in a big way.

"It's a great feeling because we hadn't been able to get over that hump," Peterson said.

The Raptors return to action tomorrow night against the Yao Ming-less Houston Rockets.


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