for this game

Howard helps Magic nip Raptors, take 2-0 lead in series

Apr 23, 2008 - 6:00 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard's dominating display is starting to become the norm against the Toronto Raptors.

Howard registered his second straight 20-20 performance as the Orlando Magic survived with a 104-103 victory over the Raptors in Game Two of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Tuesday night.

Hedo Turkoglu hit the game-winning layup with 30 seconds left to help the Magic take a 2-0 lead in the series heading into Game Three in Toronto on Thursday.

"I told our guys that tonight was more like playoff basketball," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "But like (Miami coach) Pat Riley once told me the series doesn't start until somebody wins on the other guys home court."

The 23-year-old Howard, who collected 29 points and 20 rebounds, joined Kevin Garnett (2004), Tim Duncan (2003), Shaquille O'Neal (2001) and Charles Barkley (1986) as the only players to post a 20-20 in consecutive playoff games in the last 30 years.

"Dwight's on his way to being a guy who we talk about 30 years down the line," Magic guard Keyon Dooling said. "He's awesome on both ends of the floor and is our backbone."

"He's a dominant player, and I think he's the one that really won the game for us," said Magic forward Rashard Lewis, who had 18 points and three steals.

In a matchup of two of the elite young big men in the league, Howard and Toronto's Chris Bosh put on a classic show for the fans. Bosh collected 29 points and 10 rebounds.

"I knew I was going to have to play a lot," Bosh said. "I knew I was going to get my fair share of Dwight. I knew I was going to have to make plays on offensive. That is the name of the game. That is my job and I wouldn't have it any other way. It is tough that you work so hard and come up a little bit short."

In the fourth quarter, Jose Calderon's 3-pointer with 1:46 left tied the game at 100-100, and Carlos Delfino split two from the line to give the Raptors a one-point lead 42 seconds later.

Turkoglu scored his first basket of the second half with the go-ahead driving layup, and hit two free throws to make it 104-101.

"Actually, on that play (Turkoglu's layup), he wasn't the first option," Van Gundy said. "But he made a good play out of it."

"We knew that the play was coming," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "I thought Anthony (Parker) played good defense, but he made somewhat of a circus shot. Nothing you can do if a guy makes a tough shot."

After Delfino's layup made it a one-point game again, Dooling was called for an offensive foul on Calderon on the next possession, handing the ball back to the Raptors with nine seconds to go.

With the game on the line, Toronto put the ball in the hands of its best player, Bosh, whose pull-up jumper hit the front end of the rim as time expired.

Although he was comfortable with his final shot, Bosh wondered why a foul wasn't called on Howard in the lane on his previous attempt.

"If I didn't get hit, then I don't know what anybody is seeing," Bosh said. "If I'm going to the basket, how does my momentum take me away?"

Bosh nailed a pair from the line to draw the Raptors within 92-91 with 4:41 left. But Magic reserve Keith Bogans drilled consecutive shots from the arc to make it a seven-point lead.

However, not to be outdone, Calderon and Delfino hit back-to-back 3-pointers to keep Toronto within striking distance.

For the second straight game, Orlando jumped out to a commanding advantage as Howard and Turkoglu combined for 16 points en route to a 35-18 lead after the first quarter.

The Magic, who created a 20-point bulge in Game One on Sunday in the opening period, shot a blistering 54 percent (13-of-24) from the field in the quarter.

But Bosh and Jason Kapono rallied the troops in the second period as Toronto erased an 18-point deficit when Delfino scored on a driving layup to tie things at 55-55 with 1:05 remaining.

Bosh and Kapono's efforts were just what the Raptors needed as they combined for 29 of Toronto's 39 second-quarter points to pull to 59-57 at intermission.

In third quarter, Orlando used an impressive 18-5 surge to take the lead and build an 83-78 advantage heading into the fourth. Nelson poured in eight points during the run.