Raptors run over in Orlando

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:31 PM ET

ORLANDO -- Four games into what every Raptor knew would be a trying road trip, the bottom fell out.

And not just a little bit, but all the way to rock bottom.

It was the type of night where three quarters of Dwight Howard was better than the combined production of the Raptors entire starting five.

Howard rested the final 12 minutes after putting up 31 points and 19 rebounds, nine of them at the offensive end.

The five Raptors' starters combined to match him in the points department with 31 total but were two shy of his rebound total.

It was the type of night that saw the Raptors reach depths this franchise rarely has seen.

The 112-72 final and the 40-point spread is something that the Raptors have not experienced since losing to the Seattle SuperSonics on Jan 15, 1997.

In the Raptors inaugural season, they set a franchise worst mark losing to the New York Knicks by 46.

So it wasn't the worst, but it certainly felt like it.

It was the type of night where even mild-mannered Julian Wright would blow off a little steam, the intended direction of his rant appeared to be Jerryd Bayless, but Wright played it down after the game as just heat of the moment stuff.

For head coach Jay Triano it was the kind of night that was almost predictable given the health of his team, the condensed schedule it has been playing and the extended minutes he has had to ask of those few healthy Raptors.

"I think we just wore down," Triano. "Dwight was just too much for us on the boards. We couldn't keep him off the glass offensively or defensively and then our strategy of trying to foul him backfires in the third quarter when he makes six of seven from the line."

That may have been the strategy, but it wasn't carried out.

This was Stan Van Gundy's take on the night his franchise player had.

"They decided that they were going to play him one-on-one," Van Gundy said. "There wasn't a whole lot of balance tonight, the ball just kept going to Dwight, but I mean if they're going to give you lay-ups at the basket you're not really going to look for anything else ... When we did miss shots he was basically uncontested on the glass. They are a little undersized and undermanned so Dwight took advantage of that."

Triano wasn't pleased with the execution of his strategy. When the Raptors did foul Howard, it was more often than not as he was scoring giving him plenty of and-one opportunities.

"He's good, we're not," Triano said of Howard. "We're not a good rebounding team. It's a conscious effort to go get it and we don't have a lot of guys that have a nose to go get the ball. Even guys like Amir (Johnson) who had a decent rebounding night numbers-wise, but then he lets Ryan Anderson get three offensive rebounds over his back."

It was the kind of night that got one thinking about Reggie Evans back in Toronto and going on two months of basketball inactivity after breaking a bone in his foot. Evans would have made a difference, no doubt.

It was Evans, battling the flu, who helped the Raptors hold Howard to eight rebounds the first time they came to Orlando earlier this year and escaped with a 110-106 win.

"With Reggie, Reggie's going to use his fouls," Triano said. "Some of our guys are afraid to use their fouls. Early, Reggie is going to get a body on (Howard) and box him out. Our guys think it's a macho game that they can outwork and out jump (Howard), and they can't."

That was how the fifth game in eight days went for the Raptors Friday night.

The sixth in nine does not portend to be any easier as a Miami Heat team that has lost four in a row awaits on Saturday.

"We just have to stay positive," DeMar DeRozan, the Raps leading scorer with 16 points said. "We can't hold our heads down. We have to put this game behind us and move onto the next one."

Really, it's all they can do.

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