Magic hammer hurtin' Raps

Raptors centre Aaron Gray defends against Magic centre Dwight Howard at the Air Canada Centre in...

Raptors centre Aaron Gray defends against Magic centre Dwight Howard at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont., March 26, 2012. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:27 PM ET

TORONTO - The tragic number going in was nine.

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey felt his team would at least give themselves a good shot at a win if they could limit the Orlando Magic to eight or fewer three-pointers.

The fact that Orlando already had nine, six of them by Ryan Anderson alone, and there was still 1:26 to go in the first half pretty much told the tale.

If the pre-game message was “We’re going to chase these guys off that three-point line,” it got lost in translation somewhere as the Magic rolled to a 117-101 win.

Casey’s post-game mood was one of abject disappointment.

“We came out as flat as a pancake against one of the top teams in the league and it’s disappointing,” Casey said.

Led by Anderson’s eight three-pointers, the Magic finished the night with 15 from beyond the arc, almost five more than its season average.

Orlando started fast, were threatened once as the Raps got an early 16-point lead back to even, but then pulled away for good again.

“It’s up to us to find that energy or focus, whatever you want to call it, that I thought we had and evidently we didn’t,” Casey said referring back to two solid games Saturday against the Bulls and Friday versus the Knicks.

“You can’t come out out and turn it on and turn it off,” Casey said. “You have to have the same focus and effort and then you let the chips fall where they may, but you don’t know if you don’t bring the same focus and try and rest on your laurels just because you played a good game against Chicago and New York.”

The Raptors were without the services of DeMar DeRozan for the second game since the starting shooting guard went over on an ankle last Friday against New York.

James Johnson began the day unable to take part in the shootaround because of flu-like symptoms. The team pumped him full of liquids in the afternoon so he could play, but it was far from the energetic Johnson that Toronto fans have come to know.

Andrea Bargnani, after back-to-back games of 17 and 21 points and appearing to finally find his shooting rhythm, went right back in a rut against the Magic hitting on just 3-of-11 attempts for eight points.

Casey talked pre-game about how the goal for this final month of the season was for the Raptors to bring some consistency to the court.

The Raps will have to start all over after Monday’s effort.

PICK YOUR POISON

Tough twos or raining threes? That seemed to be the two options Casey felt he had to choose from going into a game with the Orlando Magic and he opted for the tough twos. With Dwight Howard camped out under the basket, there has always been a school of thought that you didn’t double Dwight at your own peril. That’s no longer the prevailing thought. A look at the statistics settled this one rather quickly for Casey. As a team the Magic average 10.2 successful three-pointers a game. No other team in the league comes within two of that number. Howard might still go off but Casey said the goal going into a game with the Magic is to keep them at no more than eight then hope you can badger Howard enough that he doesn’t go off for 40 or something along those lines.

In any event, that was the plan.

ROSTER ADDITION

At Monday’s shootaround, Casey talked about adding to a dwindling roster.

Casey said both GM Bryan Colangelo and assistant GM Ed Stefanski were busily working the phones trying to bring some healthy bodies to an injury-ravaged Raptors roster that has been further depleted by the recent releases of first Anthony Carter and then Rasual Butler.

About six hours later the team announced it had signed shooting guard/small forward Alan Anderson to a 10-day contract.

Anderson is a well-travelled 29-year-old most recently of the Canton Charge of the NBDL where he was averaging 21.5 points and 4.6 rebounds a night.

His lone NBA experience came immediately upon leaving Michigan State when he played two seasons with Charlotte as a non-drafted signee.

In five years since heading overseas, Anderson had stops in Italy, Russian, Croatia, Israel, Spain and China.

The Raptors now have 13 men on the roster.

Anderson got into the game in the third quarter but only after the Raptors lost the services of Jerryd Bayless for the second time in the past five games.

Again the problem was a left hip pointer. Bayless, who was integral in helping the Raptors climb back into this one early pulled up on a drive to the basket midway through the second quarter. He looked to be in excruciating pain unable to even get back down the floor as the Raps went back on defence.

Anderson wound up playing eight minutes and contributed two points.


Videos

Photos