Another brickfest in loss

Raptors' Anthony Parker drives to the net against Keith Bogans of the Magic during first half...

Raptors' Anthony Parker drives to the net against Keith Bogans of the Magic during first half action on Wednesday. (SUN MEDIA/Dave Abel)

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

That shooting funk that quickly turned a 2-0 start into a 2-2 start now has the Raptors on the wrong side of .500.

Outside of Chris Bosh's perfect 14-for-14 night from the free-throw line, the Raps still are mired deep in the muck of an offensive drought that has taken the shine off what had been a nice start.

The Orlando Magic was the beneficiary of another Raptor brickfest last night jumping out to an early lead and then holding that edge most of the rest of the night in an eventual 105-96 win.

It was the Raptors third consecutive loss.

"We just have to do a better job of concentrating on getting to the bucket," Bosh said of the Raps offensive malaise.

"I think we're settling a lot for jump shots and everyone on the team has fallen victim to that. We just have to do a better job of getting easy shots first and then working our way out. Try to get a couple of trips to the free-throw line, a couple of layups and then those 18-20-foot jump shots will fall."

The Raptors dug themselves another deep hole as the Magic jumped out to a 17-4 lead before the home side made a shot from the field. The Raps finished the first quarter shooting just 33.3%. They bumped it to 34.6% in the second quarter and then seemed to get the shooting monkey off their back in the third when they hit for 47.6%.

Still the Raps didn't manage to take their first lead until just 3:56 left in the game when Andrea Bargnani hit a three for a one-point Raptors lead. The Raps were then outscored 14-4 down the stretch.

"Andrea missed a couple of open threes, they went in and out," Bosh said. "You have to live with that sometimes. We just missed shots down the stretch."

Head coach Sam Mitchell said he was pleased with the aggressiveness of his two big men in Bosh and Bargnani, each of whom rebounded from a pair of sub-par games to post decent numbers last night -- Bosh with a season-high 26 points and 10 boards and Bargnani with 16 and eight boards -- but says he needs to see more from his shooting guards and small forwards.

"We have to take what we got from those two guys and build on it and then we have to figure out a way to get our twos and threes going," Mitchell said. "We are getting the guys to the spots, but I think sometimes our guys are hesitant. They have to look to shoot the basketball. I thought Juan (Dixon) came in and gave us a lift. He was aggressive driving to the basket, so I think there are some things we can build on, but there's still a long way to go."

The Raptors have a travel day before another back-to-back tomorrow and Saturday in Philadelphia and Chicago.

T.J. Ford is hoping another change in venue will alter the Raps' shooting fortunes.

"Right now the shots are just not falling," Ford said. "I think guys are taking good shots, so as long as it's a good shot, you really can't complain. We just have to go into Philly and find a way to get a victory. I think that will help everyone's confidence and get that swagger back."


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