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Bosh outduels Howard as Raptors top Magic

Feb 21, 2008 - 4:41 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard was the talk of the town in New Orleans after winning the Slam Dunk Competition on Saturday. But on Wednesday night, Chris Bosh was the star big man.

Bosh collected 40 points, five rebounds and five assists to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 127-110 victory over the Orlando Magic.

"We were aggressive to the basket and kept the ball moving to create open shots, and everybody had the confidence to knock them down," Bosh said.

Jose Calderon chipped in 19 points and 13 assists while committing just one turnover for the Raptors, who had not played since a 109-91 win over New Jersey last Wednesday.

"It was a really important win for us after not playing for a week," Calderon said. "We did a really good job in the first half and after that we just kept playing good."

Bosh and Howard are good friends off the court and shared the stage in New Orleans on Sunday as members of the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

"He (Howard) is a beast inside, and I know I have to bring my 'A' game and he knows he has to do the same thing," Bosh said. "It's all fun competition because I don't want to hear it from him in the summer, and he doesn't want to hear it from me, so we go at it."

But while Howard usually gets the bulk of the credit as the best young post player in the East, Bosh got the better of his friend on Wednesday with a hot touch both from the floor and the free-throw line.

"It's a friendly rivalry. We love playing against each other, we are like best friends," Howard said. "Chris only missed two shots tonight and so did Jose."

Bosh shot 14-of-16 from the field and a perfect 11-of-11 from the line to pace Toronto.

"Chris Bosh we could not guard," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I thought Dwight could guard him a little bit, but he obviously could not."

Howard nearly matched his buddy from the field, going 13-of-16 and hitting 11-of-15 shots from the line for a total of 37 points. He added 15 rebounds for his 47th double-double of the season - tops in the NBA.

Bosh scored 12 points as the Raptors went on an 18-7 run to take a 31-24 lead after the first quarter.

The Magic seemed overmatched by the rested Raptors, playing in the second half of a road back-to-back after defeating Detroit on Tuesday night.

"We knew they had a really good game (Tuesday night) in Detroit so we had to concentrate from the beginning," Calderon said.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Rashard Lewis and Keith Bogans cut the Magic's deficit to 42-40 at 6:29 of the second quarter.

But Bosh was able beat Howard for a reverse dunk and then grabbed a rebound for a putback layup near the three-minute mark, sparking a 17-6 run to end the quarter and give Toronto a 64-50 lead at the break.

"I thought Chris was locked in and ready to play tonight," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "I thought Jose and everyone who played tonight, played well."

Bosh shot a scorching 10-of-11 from the field to end the first half with 24 points. Carlos Delfino added 11 points in the half off the bench, including a 3-pointer with 13 seconds to go in the quarter to cap the Raptors' run.

Howard went into the locker room with 14 points.

The Raptors began to stretch their lead in the third quarter as Anthony Parker's 3-pointer at 6:38 capped a 16-6 run to give Toronto an 82-61 advantage.

Jason Kapono's jumper with less than a second left in the third gave Toronto a 102-82 lead heading into the final quarter.

Orlando started the fourth quarter on 12-2 run, capped by Maurice Evans' dunk at 9:26 to cut its deficit to 104-94.

But the Raptors refused to let the lead drop below 10 points, and Calderon drilled a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to push the lead out of reach at 119-103.

"We were fighting against their bench guys but once he (Mitchell) went back to his guys it was game over," Van Gundy said.

Rookie Jamario Moon added 17 points and 12 rebounds for Toronto, which shot 59 percent (47-of-80) in the contest.

Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu finished with 16 points apiece for Orlando, which connected on just 9-of-28 3-pointers.

"We can't have any excuses because that is a team we might play in the playoffs," Turkoglu said. "We had to chase them all night long and we couldn't do much. Calderon's threes at the end really hurt us."

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