TORONTO (AP)—Thanks to a newfound focus on toughness and togetherness, the Orlando Magic are off to a perfect start away from home.
“Any time you can get road wins is good,” Orlando guard Jameer Nelson said. “You’re always going to be able to protect your home court because you’ve got your fans around you. When you come up to a hostile environment like Toronto, New York or Minnesota, you’ve got to stick together. Everybody who’s on that bench and everybody on the court has got to stick together.”
One night after he failed to make a field goal for just the second time in his NBA career, Toronto’s Chris Bosh scored 26 points, going 6-for-15 from the floor and making all 14 of his free throw attempts. Bosh also had 10 rebounds.
“We have to do a better job of concentrating on getting to the bucket,” Bosh said. “We’re settling for a lot of jump shots and everybody on the team is falling victim to that.”
A 3-pointer by Bargnani with 3:56 left in the fourth quarter gave Toronto its first lead of the game at 92-91. Orlando responded with eight straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Lewis and Nelson and a driving layup by Nelson to take a 99-92 edge with 2:23 remaining.
“Last year, when somebody made a big run at the end of the game, we kind of just folded over,” Howard said. “In the last two games, teams have been making big pushes at the end of the game and we’ve held our ground. We didn’t get mad or frustrated at each other. We went out there and tried to do the best job we can on defense.”
Nelson finished with 10 points and six assists for the Magic, who had all five starters reach double figures in scoring.
“I like the way our team is responding,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Of course, I’d like it better if we’d just win by 15, but I like the way our team is responding. That’s the way you’re going to have to play to win games on the road in this league. I’m very, very pleased with them right now.”
Orlando wraps up its road trip at New York on Friday.
“We’ve got one more test coming up Friday,” Nelson said. “We have to take care of business.”
Howard said the Magic know they need to do better than the 15-26 road record they posted last season.
“In order for us to become a great team and get respect around the league, we’ve got to win these games on the road,” Howard said. “We’ve been doing an awesome job so far of just concentrating. We trying to mature as a team and every game is a stepping stone for us.”
Turkoglu played 45 minutes, including the entire second half, despite a tender ankle. Van Gundy said it was hard to take him out because of foul trouble to Lewis and Howard.
“It was hurting before the game, but I always tell myself when I’m on the court it means I’ve got enough,” Turkoglu said. “I didn’t want think about it too much, let it get into my head. I just played through it. I know there’s going to be a day off tomorrow. I’ll get it treated and feel a bit better on Friday.”
Nelson returned to the starting lineup after sitting out Tuesday’s game in Minnesota with a slight concussion, the result of an inadvertent elbow to the head during practice on Monday. He was cleared to play Wednesday night after riding an exercise bike during the morning shootaround, and said he felt no ill-effects.
“The doctors did a good job getting me ready to play and being cautious,” Nelson said. “I appreciate those guys being cautious and just allowing me to get back to being healthy.”
Orlando led 52-47 at the half.