Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/29/12
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Even after Saturday's 123-88 blasting of the Orlando Magic to conclude a .500 December, Toronto Raptors coach Dwayne Casey said his team hasn't turned the corner. "Not yet," said Casey, whose team is now 7-1 in its last eight games after posting its largest margin of victory on the season. "Defensively, we still have a ways to go. We're up in the 45, 46, 47 percent range most of the game. That's where we got to turn the corner is get back that defensive edge again, protect the paint and make sure we don't let opponents come easy." DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points as the Raptors (11-20) earned their third consecutive victory over the Magic, who have lost five straight since Glen Davis went out with a shoulder injury. "We are sharing the ball," said DeRozan. "Once we share the ball, everybody's confidence gets high and it is tough to beat us." Rookie Ed Davis contributed 18 points for Toronto, while Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross each added 16 and Jose Calderon 15. Alan Anderson scored 11. "We're playing together and we're feeling good about each other," said Lowry, noting the team had 33 assists. "It is just trust. Once it gets there, the sky's the limit." Orlando (12-18) was without starting point guard Jameer Nelson (hip) as well as E'Twaun Moore (elbow) but did get back Hedo Terkoglu for the first time since he broke his hand opening night. The Magic got as close as 76-65 on two Andrew Nicholson free throws with 5:19 remaining in the third quarter, but Toronto pushed its lead back to 87-71 after three periods and outscored the Magic 36-17 in the fourth. "It was one of those nights when everything was falling," Casey said. "We weren't trying to run up the score, but our guys were making shots." Toronto made nine of its first 10 3-pointers -- and was 10-for-14 for the half -- as it stormed out to a 67-47 halftime lead, scoring the most points in a half of any Orlando opponent so far this season. The Raptors led by 20 points on four separate occasions in the second period, the first at 49-29 on an Anderson 3-pointer with 7:29 remaining. Orlando got as close as 13, but Toronto rebuilt the lead to 20 when Calderon drained a 25-footer from the left corner with 8.7 seconds left in the half. "It was just a heck of a start for them," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "They just made shots and got a lot of confidence going early." Mickael Pietrus and Davis each scored nine points while DeRozan and Calderon had seven apiece as the Raptors shot 70 percent (14-for-20) from the field to pull away to a 36-21 lead after the first quarter. Toronto closed the period with a 20-2 run. Turkoglu entered the game with 5:08 remaining in the first period. He made his first basket on an easy layup after a backcourt steal but went scoreless until a third quarter free throw. He finished with eight points in 23 minutes. "I didn't have much practice," Turkoglu said. "These games are going to be about conditioning and getting my wind." Orlando gave up 100 points for the second straight night after an NBA-best stretch of 12 consecutive games holding opponents under 100. The loss of Davis may be starting to come into play. "It has a big effect," said Magic point guard Ish Smith, who got the start with Nelson out. "Sometimes 'Baby' would score 12 points and have 11 rebounds, but defensive and emotionally, he covers up so much." Nicholson, a rookie, had a career-high 22 points for Orlando, while Arron Affalo scored 14 and Smith 13. NOTES: Vaughn said prior to Saturday's game that he hasn't been "authorized to limit" how many minutes Turkoglu would play in his first game back. However, Vaughn did say he'd use his best judgment in determining Turkoglu's playing time. "We'll always be cautious," Vaughn said. "We want to see him play the remainder of the year. We'll be smart and judicious with the minutes we give and how we give them to him." He was unsure if either Nelson or Moore would play Monday against Miami. ... Raptor John Lucas was in Charlotte for his grandmother's funeral Saturday but rejoined the team in Orlando.
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