Raptors 113, Magic 103

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TORONTO (AP)—Chris Bosh’s career night was better than Dwight Howard’s.

Bosh scored a career-high 41 points and outplayed Howard in a matchup of All-Star big men as the Toronto Raptors won their season-high fourth straight with a 113-103 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Howard had a career-high 32 points on 13-for-14 shooting.

“I know Dwight is competitive. He’s a good friend of mine,” said Bosh, who played with Howard on the U.S. national team. “I know he’s going to come out there and play hard, so I have to try and match it.”

Bosh, who scored 31 points in the second half, also had eight rebounds for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, who have won nine of 11. Toronto has a 3 1/2 -game lead over New Jersey and is just four games behind Detroit for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Fans chanted ‘MVP! MVP!’ each time Bosh stepped to the line in the fourth quarter.

“It made me smile,” Bosh said. “That’s the plan. That’s one of my goals that I want to attain in my career. I know I have a long way to go, but I think today is one of the things that’s going to help prepare me for that goal.”

Bosh, elected to start in the All-Star game for the first time, went 13-for-25 from the field and 15-for-17 from the line. His previous career high was 37 points on Dec. 27, 2005, against Detroit.

Howard also had nine rebounds for the Magic, who have lost 11 of 14 to fall to .500 (25-25) for the first time since early November.

His previous career high was 30 points on Jan. 10, 2007, against Golden State.

“I never thought about it. I didn’t even know how many points I had,” Howard said.

Howard said Bosh dominated.

“Chris is a different player. He’s more of a two man in a four man’s body,” said Howard, who visited Bosh in Toronto’s locker room after the game. “He’s a great player, a great guy. I had a chance to spend a lot of time with him this past summer.”

Howard said the Magic will regroup over the All-Star break.

“We just got to keep our heads up. Nobody in the league is going to say, ‘Well, the Magic are playing bad, let’s just give them a win,”’ Howard said. “We’ll get it back right.”

Jose Calderon and T.J. Ford, Toronto’s two point guards, each had 10 points and 11 assists for the Raptors, who shot 52 percent. Calderon started again in place of Ford, who remains bothered by a sore right ankle.

After J.J. Redick’s 3-pointer cut Toronto’s lead to two with 7:27 left, Bosh dunked, Calderon made a jumper and Ford came up with a steal before Bosh finished a fast break with a dunk to give Toronto a 96-88 lead with 6:30 left.

Consecutive jumpers by Ford made it 101-90 with 4:09 remaining. Bosh’s three-point play made it 103-92 with 2:23 left.

Toronto (26-23) hadn’t been three games over .500 since Nov. 10, 2004, when it was 4-1. The team hasn’t been above .500 this late in a season since 2001-02, when the Raptors finished 42-40 and made their most recent playoff appearance.

Notes

Orlando forward Tony Battie missed the game because of a bone chip in his right hand. Darko Milicic started in his place. … Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi attended the game with team president Paul Godfrey.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Orlando
D. Howard D. Howard
13-14,  32 Pts
9 Rebs, 4 Assists
 Toronto
C. Bosh C. Bosh
13-25,  41 Pts
8 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Feb 7