How the Raptors can come back and defeat the Orlando Magic in their opening-round playoff series:

Moon them.

Sure worked last night.

Jamario Moon, mysteriously and sparingly used as a benchwarmer by enigmatic coach Sam Mitchell in the Raptors’ two previous playoff tilts — both losses in Orlando — was back to his familiar starting role in Toronto last night and clearly supplied his teammates with a boost. Heck, even point guard T.J. Ford raised the level of his play.

With a Moonless starting lineup in this series, Ford and the Raps were thoroughly dominated in lopsided first quarters. Last night, however, they smothered the Magic with a 61-40 halftime lead and an ultimate rout.

Moon, who averaged only 13.5 minutes, 1.5 points and three rebounds in the first two games, recorded a double-double in the first half alone last night.

Which raises this question: Why in the world was this 27-year-old rookie yanked from the starting lineup in Orlando?
Silly Sam. The man tinkers too much. He makes too many questionable decisions.

>> Moon talks a nice game, too, saying all the right things.

He could have carved Silly Sam for benching him previously, but instead assessed his performance last night like this: “It’s not about proving anyone wrong. It’s about coming out and helping my team.”

>> The last-place Blue Jays, incidentally, have been swept three times this month and so it’s not a matter of if John Gibbons will be fired as manager, but when. Could happen today … Jay Junkies, by the way, ought to stop heaping praise on Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan, who lost to the Tampa Bay Rays last night. Truth is, he’s no workhorse and he tires in the fifth inning of almost every start … A few days after being cut by the Jays, slugger Frank Thomas re-signed yesterday with his old team, the Oakland A’s, and promptly helped them trounce the Minnesota Twins, 11-2. And, oh yes, he also took some shots at the Jays, insisting he was producing in a “huge” way before they dumped him.

For details, check out my latest MLB Report at

>> And Brian Burke really wasn’t a top candidate to become the Maple Leafs’ general manager. Glen Sather is. The Leafs’ brass feels Burke is too serious and needs to loosen up.

In three-plus decades as a columnist and broadcaster, Marty York has built a network of solid contacts and a renowned reputation for his hard-hitting, groundbreaking style. The tradition continues in Metro Sports.

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