Raps courting disaster

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

ORLANDO -- Chris Bosh had just drained his 33rd point of the night on his way to 40, this one from 21 feet with a defender in his face.

Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, sitting at the scorers table and waiting to check into the game, couldn't help but smile.

He could because despite Bosh's dominance, even with Howard himself having a sub-Superman night, Orlando was up by 10 on its way to a 103-90 win.

As good as Bosh was, the absence of Jose Calderon was felt in a most profound way last night.

The normally sure-handed Raptors were throwing the ball away like it was carrying a contagious disease.

By night's end the damage was 24 turnovers, leading to 22 Orlando points. The 24 turnovers breaks the previous season high of 20 set Sunday in a win over the Miami Heat. That was the first game Calderon missed.

Notice a trend here?

Seven of the 11 Raptors and four of the five starters committed at least one turnover. From the point guard position, Will Solomon had a game-high seven with Roko Ukic chipping in with two more.

From coach Sam Mitchell to Chris Bosh to Jermaine O'Neal, the Raptors took turns trying to spread the blame but there's no disguising the fact that the dropoff from Calderon to either Solomon or Ukic is a huge one, particularly when it comes to taking care of the basketball.

Calderon continues to be listed as day to day but with each game he misses, his importance to this team becomes more pronounced.

"It's just tough for us right now," Mitchell said. "We have two guys who are trying to learn in the NBA."

Asked specifically what he could possibly say to Solomon after such a tough night, Mitchell replied: "You just have to shake it off. I know for myself if I had a tough game I would want to play as soon as possible so (tonight) he gets a chance to go out and play.

"Obviously you can't turn the ball over 24 times," Mitchell said. "It's hard to overcome 24 turnovers. Anybody who has ever watched even one game knows you can't turn the ball over 24 times."

As upset as he had to be about the turnovers, Mitchell could not gush enough about Bosh and what he means to this team. In addition to the 40 points, he had 18 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

"The way he's playing words can't describe," Mitchell said. "And it's not just scoring. He's doing all the little things. He's getting on the floor, he's playing defence, he's passing the basketball. He's just playing amazing."

For Bosh, it was the sixth time in his career that he has scored 40-plus points. Three of them have come against the Magic.

Any enjoyment Bosh got out of his individual numbers was outweighed by the 24 turnovers.

"We just have to take care of the ball," Bosh said.

"That is what we have thrived on the past two years and that's what keeps us in games. That's how we have been successful."

Another part of their success went missing in action last night was the three-point shot.

The Raps came within 3:42 of playing their first game in nine seasons without at least one three-pointer. Jason Kapono got them off the hook in the dying minutes to extend their NBA record streak to 788 games.

Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, who called last night's game "the best we've played all year" felt not giving up threes was the key to the win for his team.

The Raptors finished up going 2-for-14 from three-point range while the Magic were good on 11 of 23 from beyond the arc.

"Every time we got within making a run, they hit a three," Mitchell said. "And they've got a bunch of guys who can make three's."

---

REPLAY

FOUL TROUBLE

Jermaine O'Neal went the entire first quarter without a single foul and then picked up two in just over a minute midway through the second quarter. To that point, O'Neal had held Dwight Howard to just five points and four rebounds in 19 minutes. Howard wound up with 18 points and nine rebounds, most of it coming with O'Neal on the bench.

ANOTHER STEP

O'Neal has been lamenting his offensive game but he amped it up another notch last night, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double despite playing with foul trouble from the 19-minute mark.

WIN ON THE GLASS

For the second game in a row, the Raptors trio of bigs (O'Neal, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani) won the rebounding battle pulling down 44 to the Magic's 37. Better still, the threesome had an 11-8 advantage in offensive boards.


Videos

Photos