The Raptors were better last night.
Considerably better.
But there still were too many turnovers. They still played some shaky defence at times. And, oh yes, they turned in yet another absolutely horrible first quarter.
All of which contributed to their 104-103 loss to the Magic in a highly entertaining playoff tilt that wasn’t decided until the dying seconds of regulation time in Orlando, Fla.
The teams will clash again in Toronto tomorrow night, with the Raptors trailing this best-of-seven series 2-0.
“We knew Toronto would come back and make this game closer than the first game (which the Raptors lost 114-100),” said Keith Boguns, one of several bench players who has excelled for Orlando in the first two games. “And they were tough. They gave us a scare.”
The Raps, in fact, were actually in good position to pull out a victory before the final buzzer. After an offensive foul against the Magic’s Keyon Dooling, who backed into Jose Calderon while Orlando was inbounding the ball, the Raps were given possession with only 9.3 seconds left in regulation and down a point.
Chris Bosh, who played a respectable game, fired a jump shot from just inside the three-point line, but drew iron. Orlando rebound. Game over.
“We knew Bosh would take that shot, then and there,” Boguns said. “He’s their main guy. But (Orlando centre) Dwight Howard did a good job making him readjust his shot and he missed.”
And the Raps missed an opportunity to silence the critics who surely will blame the team for a pathetic first quarter. This time, the Magic was able to jump ahead 35-17. On Sunday, Orlando led 43-23 after one quarter.
How the heck does this happen? How does a team fall so far behind early in two consecutive games?
Why haven’t the Raptors been ready to go from the outset?
Folks, there was something seriously wrong with this, and you don’t have to be an NBA guru to recognize this.
Once was bad enough, but twice?
That was an embarrassment.
And it doesn’t say much about how the Raptors’ coaching staff prepared its players.
Head coach Sam Mitchell, who was given a bulky contract before this season, might just get the heave-ho after this season. That is, unless the Raptors can muster up enough to record a complete turnaround in this series.
Hey, play-by-play shill/announcer Chuck Swirsky predicted the Raptors would defeat the Magic in six games. Still can happen. If it doesn’t, though, look for changes, starting with Mitchell.

Latest From ...