TORONTO (Reuters) - The Orlando Magic conjured up a stirring comeback to overcome the Toronto Raptors 106-94 on Saturday and seize control of their Eastern Conference quarter-final.
The Magic return home to Florida leading the best-of-seven series 3-1 and have an opportunity to clinch a second round berth with a Game Five win on Monday.
If the Raptors are to extend the series, they need to do something they have not done in seven years -- win a playoff game on the road.
”It’s simple, the focus is going to Orlando to try and win a basketball game and get back home,“ Raptors coach Sam Mitchell told reporters. ”It’s nothing brilliant I can tell you.
“We’ve got to go out kicking and screaming, we’ve got to put everything into it.”
The Magic were once again guided to victory by their two big men, Rashard Lewis leading the way with 27 points and 13 rebounds while Dwight Howard had 19 points, 16 boards and eight blocked shots.
Jameer Nelson also had 19 points, scoring 10 straight during Orlando’s fourth quarter rally with Hedo Turkoglu chipping in with 18.
Chris Bosh had a game-high 39 points and 15 rebounds and did yeoman’s work in helping contain Howard and keep the Magic All-Star to under 20 points for the second consecutive game.
Howard, known to fans as “Superman” for his highflying at the NBA’s Slam Dunk contest, dominated the opening quarter pouring in 12 points and pulling down seven rebounds as the Magic built a 31-26 lead.
However, the superhero transformed into the ‘Invisible Man’ in the second quarter, failing to add to his total as the Raptors rallied behind a 21-point first half effort by Bosh to take a 53-48 advantage into the intermission.
With less than a minute to play in the third quarter, the battling Magic pulled level at 73-73 but the Raptors would not surrender the lead until Nelson dropped a short jumper with 5:32 remaining in the fourth to push the visitors ahead to stay at 85-83.
Clinging to a 94-92 lead, Lewis and Turkoglu hit back-to-back three-pointers to open up an eight-point cushion with 1:31 remaining, silencing the sellout crowd.
“They’re going to be scratching and clawing to stay in the series and try and bring it back home,” Lewis said.
”So we know we have to come ready to play.
”We wanted to win very bad, we didn’t want to go home with the series tied 2-2.
“We need everybody to step up, we need everybody on this team to help us win these ball games.”
Editing by John O'Brien