The look of complete and utter frustration on Chris Bosh’s face Sunday summed up a horrible afternoon for the Toronto Raptors.
Dwight Howard poured in 29 points and added 14 rebounds as the Orlando Magic routed Toronto 113-90, handing the Raptors their second straight loss.
“It’s frustrating obviously, it just wasn’t a good day for us any way you look at it,” Anthony Parker said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, we didn’t seem like we executed well offensively, even when we got shots that we worked the offence to get, they just didn’t fall in.”
Jose Calderon scored 16 points to top Toronto (19-30), Joey Graham added 14, Andrea Bargnani finished with 12 and Bosh added 11, plus nine rebounds, in one of his worst games of the season.
“I just didn’t make shots,” said Bosh, who shot 4-for-11 from the field. “Dwight played very far off me a couple of times, usually I have the patience to knock those shots down but for some reason I was really in a hurry. I shouldn’t have been like that.”
Jameer Nelson added 18 points and 10 assists, while Rashard Lewis finished with 15 points for the Magic (36-10), in their third straight win.
The lethargic Raptors never led against the Southeast Divison leading-Magic – who boast a league-leading 18-6 record on the road – and trailed by as much as 24 points late in the third quarter. The Magic took an 87-65 lead into the final 12 minutes.
The Raptors made up no ground on their visitors in the fourth, the closest they would come was within 16 points on a basket by Will Solomon with 5:05 left to play. Then with all the starters on the bench for the final three minutes, the Magic cruised to an easy victory. What fans were still left at the Air Canada Centre booed the Raptors off the floor at the final buzzer.
Bosh, who was named an all-star reserve earlier in the week, was virtually invisible for much of the afternoon, and Raptors coach Jay Triano left the team captain on the bench for good chunks of the game. Bosh didn’t score any points in the first quarter, and had just five in the second before picking up a technical for slamming the ball in frustration as the first half ended.
“That’s two technicals in two games for no reason, one make a hard foul and another one slamming the ball down,” Bosh said of the call. “Somebody owes me money, they need to give me my money back.”
The capacity crowd of 19,800 booed after a couple of Bosh’s missed shots.
“I don’t think the energy is good. The energy in the building isn’t good,” Bosh said afterward. “We get down a little bit and everybody is like ‘Oh my god.’ Everything just goes to shambles and I think we feed off that too much. We can’t pay attention to what’s in the stands.
“I don’t boo,” he added. “If you have a bad fiscal year, how about I boo you?”
Nelson even had something to say about the hostility the crowd showed toward Bosh and the Raptors.
“I don’t think that is right for any players,” the Magic guard said. “Everybody has a right to do what they want at a game because they pay their money, but at the same time he is out there fighting and playing hard. You shouldn’t boo the guy, he is an all-star and is great for this team. I don’t think he deserves to get booed, I don’t think the team deserves to get booed.”
The game wasn’t Bosh’s lowest scoring of the season – he finished with just nine points in two previous outings.
Before the game, Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said Bosh was one of two players – the other is Miami’s Dwyane Wade – Orlando has never seemed able to contain.
“It’s like those guys never have even an average night against us. They’re always great,” Van Gundy said. “Obviously we have not only not found the answer, I’m not even sure we know what the questions are.”
At least for one game Sunday, the Magic had the answer, but it was as much about Bosh’s off day than anything Orlando did.
Bosh looked angry through much of the afternoon, including when he uncharacteristically missed a pass from Calderon that went sailing into the stands.
“I expect myself to play well, but missing a pass, that pissed me off, I’m not going to lie,” Bosh said. “I was in a rush, I was trying to go fast, I had the ball in my hands and I looked away … I’ve really been struggling at catching the ball the last two games and that’s unacceptable.”
Howard, who earned more votes for the NBA all-star game than any other player in history, had his way in the paint, scoring on an array of athletic dunks. The Magic centre shot 11-for-19 on the afternoon.
Orlando outscored Toronto 40-30 in the paint and edged them on the boards 49-44. The Magic shot 45 per cent from the field to Toronto’s 41 but shot 13-for-30 from three-point range while the Raptors made just two of their 11 three-point attempts.
It didn’t take long for Howard to flex his muscles, scoring 12 points in the first quarter. The Raptors trailed behind from the opening whistle and when Courtney Lee went coast-to-coast for a slam dunk the Magic went up by 10 points with just under three minutes left. The Magic led 31-25 going into the second.
Graham came off the bench in the second quarter to spark the Raptors with eight points and eight boards, his running layup less than three minutes in tying the game 33-33. Orlando regained control and took a 53-47 advantage into the locker-room at halftime.
The Magic opened the third with an 11-2 run, taking a 15-point lead on a three-pointer by Lee three minutes into the quarter. Orlando completely dominated Toronto the rest of the way, leading 87-65 with one quarter left.
Notes: Orlando’s Nelson and Lewis were both named all-star reserved … Toronto and Orlando split their previous two games this season … The Raptors are at Cleveland on Tuesday and back home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday … Referee Steve Javie’s dad Stan was an NFL official for 29 years and refereed four Super Bowls.