Raptors' woes continue

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

ORLANDO -- The Raptors have won before without Chris Bosh in the lineup, but two games into his absence with a sore right knee, the question is quickly becoming how?

With Bosh in street clothes, the Raptors suffered a major breakdown for a second game in a row.

During the first game, in Charlotte, the Raps got torched on the offensive boards, leading to 32 second-chance points by the Bobcats.

Last night, the Raps offence never seemed to find a rhythm, and despite vastly improved rebounding -- the Magic were held to just two offensive boards and three second-chance points -- Toronto lost to a beatable Magic club 102-87.

It was their third loss in a row and fourth in their past seven games.

"We just couldn't score enough," head coach Sam Mitchell said. "The fourth quarter they kept getting dunks and (Hedo) Turkoglu kept hitting big shots. We got some good shots but we just couldn't get enough points."

Mitchell didn't name names but outside of T.J. Ford (20), Anthony Parker (19), Jose Calderon (14) and Kris Humphries (10), it was a pretty tough night offensively for every other Raptor.

Orlando's Dwight Howard was kept under wraps for three quarters thanks to some tough defence, but he came out in the fourth like he just might have that Superman cape he wore at the all-star slam-dunk contest under his uniform. He was six-for-six in the final frame, with another four points from the free throw line. Four of his six baskets in the quarter were dunks.

Even Ford's 20-point night was a bit misleading. He got 13 of those points in the fourth quarter but needed nine shots to get them.

That was nine of the 17 shots the Raptors took in the final 12 minutes as the Magic put the game away with 31 points in the final frame.

Ford pointed out that Bosh's absence is being felt up and down the Raptor lineup.

"For the most part, the second unit is trying to find a flow and our chemistry again," Ford said.

"We have lost that consistency since (Bosh) went down, because everybody's role changed. We need to find a balance right now."

The fact that the NBA's best three-point shooting team only made good on 2-of-14 attempts from beyond the arc did not help matters.

As it stands, the Raps remain in fifth place in the East but the loss could make a difference come playoff time as it gives the Magic a 2-1 edge in the season series, which would give Orlando home-court advantage if it came down to a tie-breaker.


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