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Raptors cut Magic's lead

| Friday, April 25, 2008

TORONTO -- T.J. Ford scored 21 points, Jose Calderon had 18 points and 13 assists, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Orlando Magic, 108-94, on Thursday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

Dwight Howard had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1. Hedo Turkoglu added 24 points, and Rashard Lewis had 19.

Jamario Moon had 11 points and 10 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup for Toronto, while Chris Bosh and Jason Kapono each scored 15 points and Anthony Parker 10.

The Raptors finished 12 for 34 from 3-point range and set playoff highs for points in a game and a half (61).

Game 4 is Saturday afternoon in Toronto.

Keith Bogans had 12 for the Magic, who trailed by as many as 23.

Orlando guard Jameer Nelson collapsed with back spasms as he was walking back the locker room after the game and was seen writhing on the floor in pain. Hampered by foul trouble, Nelson went 2 for 8 and scored six points, all in the fourth quarter.

The Raptors were unable to overcome double-digit deficits in the first quarter of Games 1 and 2, and were determined to start better up north.

With Moon back in the starting lineup in place of Rasho Nesterovic, the Raptors had the energy they needed. Down, 6-2 early, Toronto responded with a 16-3 run over the next four minutes. Moon capped it with a breakaway dunk, forcing Orlando to call timeout trailing, 18-9.

With his teammates struggling, Howard's inside dominance kept Orlando close. He had 13 points and five rebounds in the opening frame, but Toronto led 28-20 after 12 minutes.

Besides Howard, the Magic shot 3 for 15 in the opening quarter.

The Raptors pulled further away in the second, holding Howard to just two points and finishing the half with a flurry sparked by Ford.

The diminutive guard played just 3 1/2 minutes in the quarter but made the most of them, scoring 11 points. Ford drained jumpers on three straight trips and Bargnani added a 3-pointer as the Raptors reeled off a 9-0 run, pushing their lead to 56-35.

Bosh didn't make his first field goal until a breakaway dunk with 12 seconds left in the first half, putting Toronto up 61-38. Carlos Arroyo replied with a layup to make it 61-40 at the break.

Lewis opened the third with back-to-back 3-pointers and had 12 points in the quarter as Orlando outscored Toronto 29-19, cutting the gap to 80-69 heading into the fourth.

Nelson picked up his fourth foul less than two minutes into the third and headed to the bench. Joining him there later was Howard, who was whistled for three fouls in the third, two of them offensive, and was replaced by Marcin Gortat with 1:39 remaining.

Wizards 108, Cavaliers 72

In Washington, DeShawn Stevenson scored 19 points, Caron Butler added 17, highlighted by an incredible layup move in the first half, and the Wizards shot 52 percent and took themselves off the ropes by beating Cleveland.

The Wizards cut the Cavaliers' lead to 2-1 in the first-round series.

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