Chris Bosh had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and six other Toronto
players reached double figures in scoring to lead the Raptors to a
106-96 victory over Orlando on Wednesday night.
Orlando rookie Dwight Howard had 17 points and tied a
season-high with 20 rebounds for the Magic, who were missing the
injured Hill for the second straight game.
Hill bruised his left shin when he was kicked last week. The
Magic say the injury is not related to the left ankle problems that
kept Hill out of all but 47 games the previous four seasons, but
the team wants to be careful about rushing him back.
He's expected to return for Friday's game against Minnesota.
"When you got a guy like Grant out, who produces every night,
you definitely need guys to step up," Magic point guard Jameer
Nelson said. "We needed one more guy."
"We sensed they were tired and dragging a little bit," Bosh
Morris Peterson and Rafer Alston each had a team-high 16 points
for the Raptors, who are fighting to stay in the playoff race.
Donyell Marshall and Matt Bonner each added 14 points, and Jalen Rose and Rafael Araujo had 13 apiece.
"It's impressive the kind of balance we had," said Rose, who
had a season-high eight assists. "We're going to need a lot of
that the rest of the season."
Toronto led by as many as 15 in the third quarter but Francis
had six points as Orlando finished the quarter on a 8-0 run.
Turkoglu began the fourth with a dunk and a three-point play to cut
Toronto's lead to two.
But Toronto followed with a decisive 20-6 run. Bonner had two
3-pointers during the spurt and Bosh's fadeaway jumper and nifty
spin move on Kelvin Cato gave Toronto a 99-84 lead with 5:12 left.
Rose made a free throw after Francis received a technical foul
to close out the run.
Orlando followed with eight straight points, but Alston made a
layup with just over one minute left and Marshall's 3-pointer gave
Toronto a 106-96 lead with 54 seconds remaining.
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell was vague when asked why Araujo
is the starting center. "There are a lot of reasons, which I don't
have time to go into detail," Mitchell said. General manager Rob
Babcock has been criticized for taking Araujo with the eighth pick
in the draft. He's averaging 3.5 points points and 3.5 rebounds a
game ... Mitchell, an assistant with Charlotte before being hired
by the Raptors, said the Bobcats considered taking Nelson with the
fourth pick in the draft had they kept the pick and not moved up to
take Emeka Okafor. Nelson, the college player of the year, dropped
to No. 20 and was subsequently dealt to Orlando. Nelson had 17
points. The Magic are 3-4 since Nelson became a starter.