for this game

Magic take command against Raptors

Apr 27, 2008 - 12:40 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- After a Game Three loss, Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson collapsed with back spasms as he walked to the locker room and was writhing on the floor in pain. On Saturday, he left the Toronto Raptors feeling the agony of being pushed to the brink of elimination.

Nelson overcame back stiffness to score 10 of his 19 points during a crucial three-minute stretch in the fourth quarter Saturday as the Magic posted a 106-94 victory over the Raptors in Game Four.

The Magic overcame Chris Bosh's playoff career high of 39 points to grab a commanding 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series. Toronto led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter.

"I was really happy with our effort to finish the game in the fourth quarter," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I thought our defense was a little better. The only thing that was a negative on our end, Chris went off, but he's a great player."

Rashard Lewis scored 27 points to pace Orlando, which became the first team to win on the road in the series. The Magic can close out the Raptors at home on Monday.

But it was the play of Nelson, who struggled in the first half, that helped turn around the game. During his burst, the diminutive guard was 4-of-4 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers.

"I do not think we were rattled (early)," Lewis said. "We were just careless with the ball."

After Nelson's jumper tied the contest 80-80, Jason Kapono hit a 3-pointer to put the Raptors back ahead with 6:43 remaining.

Nelson scored Orlando's next eight points, including another 3-pointer that gave the Magic the lead for good at 88-85 with 4:57 remaining.

"We turned it over a lot in the first half," Van Gundy added. "After that, we settled down and were only down one going into the fourth quarter."

The Raptors stayed close until the final two minutes but never had a chance to tie or take the lead. After a follow shot by Toronto's Anthony Parker made it 94-92 with 2:28 remaining, the Magic reeled off 11 straight points.

"It's not over until we lose one game," said Bosh, who also grabbed 15 rebounds. "We have to show up and we have to win. We could sit here and mope but the fact is, we still have another game. As long as we have another game, we have to get ready to play."

Coming off a 108-94 victory in Game Three, the Raptors led for most of the first three quarters Sunday. Toronto opened a 67-60 lead on Bosh's two free throws with 4:45 left in the third quarter.

But the Magic rallied behind some strong outside shooting, making 11-of-29 3-pointers, compared to just 2-of-15 for the Raptors. Orlando shot 49 percent from the field overall (37-of-75), while holding Toronto to 43 percent (40-of-92).

Dwight Howard was huge on defense for the Magic with eight blocks. He fell just short of a triple-double, also collecting 19 points and 16 rebounds.

"He can play defense and he was super aggressive blocking shots," Bosh said of Howard. "He was going for shots and he can alter shots, and that's what makes him so good."

Howard shook off the derisive "Superman (stinks)" chants that were directed his way throughout the game. The chants were in response to the Superman cape he wore during the dunk competition at this year's All-Star Weekend.

"I didn't even think about it," Howard said. "It's fine with me. I just know that we are not playing at home. It's like us against the world. What can I say if they say,'Superman (stinks)'? I'll just show them that Superman doesn't (stink)."

Orlando closed within 74-73 after the third quarter and neither team led by more than five points in the fourth period until the final two minutes.

Lewis scored 10 points in the final quarter, including a 3-pointer that made it 100-92 with 1:31 remaining. Hedo Turkoglu chipped in with 18 points and nine rebounds for the Magic.

Kapono, Parker and T.J. Ford all scored 12 points for the Raptors. Ford also handed out 13 assists.

"There's no reason not to have a positive attitude," Ford said. "It's not over and we know we can beat them. It's just a matter of winning the next game to get back in the series."

    ORLANDO 106

    Apr 26 5:41 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 23 roots (Close Finish)

    Magic 90, Raptors 87  4th - 3:13Apr 26 5:24 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 30 roots (Close Finish)

    Magic 83, Raptors 83  4th - 6:00Apr 26 5:16 PM
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    bigbelly Added 5 roots

    Magic 78, Raptors 78  4th - 8:55Apr 26 5:15 PM

    ORLANDO 73

    Apr 26 5:02 PM

    ORLANDO 48

    Apr 26 4:13 PM

    ORLANDO 31

    Apr 26 3:35 PM