They did not go meekly but they did go, done in as they have been so often by an inability to make a big play when it was most needed.
Despite playing with emotion and resolve for the entire game, the Raptors saw their season come to an end last night, losing Game 5 of their playoff series 102-92 to the Orlando Magic.
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Once again, it came down to late-game execution and, once again, the Raptors came up short, another illustration of the shortcomings of a roster that muddled through a 41-41 regular season and one that will have to be remade in at least some aspects before next season.
After clawing back from an eight-point deficit to cut an Orlando lead to 84-82, the Raptors came away empty on four straight possessions, including two by Carlos Delfino.
And as they have for almost the entire series, the Magic answered Toronto’s failings with their own big plays as Keith Bogans and Jameer Nelson each hit critical three-pointers to put the game out of reach.
With the sellout crowd of 17,519 on its feet for most of the final two minutes, the Magic rolled to a victory that moves them into the second round for the first time in 12 seasons.
For Toronto, there are questions that only general manager Bryan Colangelo can answer in the coming months.
Chris Bosh didn’t have a brilliant game last night — 16 points and nine rebounds — and it’s been proved virtually impossible for this team to win if he doesn’t explode.
T.J. Ford, who finished the game on the bench while Jose Calderon played, had 14 points, as did Delfino.
But that wasn’t nearly enough to hold off the Magic.
All five Orlando starters finished in double figures, with Dwight Howard leading the way with 21 points and 21 rebounds.