ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Magic kept their slim Eastern Conference playoff hopes alive with a sixth straight win, but didn’t get the two losses they needed even more.
The win keeps Orlando in the hunt for an eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, but just barely. Chicago and Philadelphia kept a three-game cushion over the Magic by beating Atlanta and New Jersey, respectively.
The Magic are out of contention if either of those teams wins two more games, or if Orlando loses one of its last four and either the 76ers or Bulls win just one more.
“They’re probably playing a little better than Philly or Chicago,” Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. “The unfortunate thing is, they’re running out of games.”
Orlando has won 10 of its last 11, but gets no rest before its next game, which is a tall order: Thursday night at San Antonio, which is still battling Dallas for top seed in the West.
“I tell the guys we’ve got to take care of our own business, and we’re either going to get help from somebody else or not,” Orlando coach Brian Hill said.
Morris Peterson had 23 points, five assists and eight rebounds and Mike James had 21 points and five assists for Toronto, which hasn’t won since losing All-Star forward Chris Bosh to a season-ending thumb injury March 26. James had been doing most of the Raptors’ scoring with more than 30 points the past four games.
“They’re playing for a playoff spot, and they’ve been playing well as of late,” Peterson said. “The thing we have to understand, all the young guys in this locker room look out and see what a playoff atmosphere is like and try to take the experience.”
Charlie Villanueva added 19 points and six rebounds for Toronto, but was limited by foul trouble in the third quarter.
The Raptors pulled within seven points with 4:17 left after Joey Graham dunked, but would get no closer in a sloppy fourth quarter that included a stretch of six straight turnovers—three apiece for the Raptors and Magic.
Nelson, who had seven assists, hit a 3-pointer with 3:35 left after a Peterson miss to put Orlando ahead 101-89, sealing the win.
Nelson scored six points and Turkoglu had four in an 11-0 Magic run for a 10-point lead midway through the third quarter. Nelson added five more points at the end of the period—including a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1.5 seconds left—to give Orlando an 86-75 advantage.
Toronto built a 44-36 lead midway through the second quarter on a 20-6 run, with Villanueva and James contributing all the Raptors’ points. Villanueva hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions, scoring 11 points in the quarter after going 0-for-3 in the first. The Raptors were 4-of-5 from behind the arc in the quarter and 8-of-15 on the game.
Magic G Carlos Arroyo missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring. … Toronto received a delay-of-game technical in the third quarter when Sow batted the ball off the court after a dunk. … Orlando’s bench outscored Toronto reserves 18-11. … Graham fouled out at 1:18 with two points in 19 minutes.