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Calderon's 18 assists help Raptors win

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Orlando Magic were able to overhaul one double-digit deficit to the Toronto Raptors. They weren't able to do it twice.

After leading by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Raptors (3-7) found themselves trailing by two after three quarters but came on strong in the fourth to pick up a 97-86 home win over the Magic on Sunday.

DeMar DeRozan led the way with 20 points for the Raptors while Jose Calderon had 18 assists to go along with nine points.

"It's a great feeling," said Calderon, who was one assist short of tying a team record. "I think everybody's happy. Everybody gets involved and everybody starts to feel more comfortable. We started playing defense and we were moving the ball a little bit better."

E'Twaun Moore and Glen Davis led all Magic scorers with 15 points apiece.

Trailing by eight at the half, the Magic chipped away at Toronto's lead in the third quarter and were helped when Toronto faltered at the free-throw line.

With two and a half minutes remaining in the third, Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas missed a pair from the line, and on their very next possession, veteran Magic guard Jameer Nelson tied the game with a 15-foot jumper.

Valanciunas was at the line again on Toronto's next time down the court and made one of two before Nelson gave the Magic their first lead since the first quarter with a layup. Orlando had a slight 69-67 lead after three quarters as they finished the frame on an 11-3 run.

"I was disappointed that we had to be fighting back into the game for a lead," Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said. "If we're not ready to play off the start of the game and committed at the start of the game -- not waiting for halftime and what happens after halftime, then we won't have a chance."

Toronto found its shooting stroke in the fourth quarter and was buoyed by back-to-back three pointers from Linas Kleiza and Amir Johnson.

"The one thing about the shot is, I didn't hesitate. I just caught and shot the ball," said Johnson.

The three-pointer was just his fifth in seven years in the NBA. He finished with 15 points.

"All summer I've been working on that shot. As long as I catch it and shoot. it has a chance to go in," Johnson said.

The Raptors' fight back was punctuated with four minutes remaining when Calderon tossed up a pass that DeRozan slammed home spectacularly to restore the Raptors' double-digit lead at 89-78.

"We're not focused defensively at the end of the game. That's it," said Magic guard Arron Afflalo, who had 15 points. "We're thinking about points and thinking about whatever we're thinking about. We stop thinking about stops. Winning teams think about stops. That's it."

Nikola Vucevic's running lay-up with 8:43 left in the first quarter tied the game 8-8 before Toronto went on a 10-0 that was bookended by a pair of Dominic McGuire baskets.

Toronto's 10-point margin lasted until the end of the first quarter and was almost its half-time advantage as well before Moore hit a running jumper from six feet to reduce their halftime deficit to eight.

NOTES: Magic guard J.J. Redick was a late omission from the lineup with an undisclosed illness. ... Toronto-born rookie Andrew Nicholson made his first appearance in his hometown as an NBA player for the Magic. ... Toronto was without guard Kyle Lowry for the fifth game with a bruised foot. Landry Fields and Alan Anderson also remain out for the Raptors ... Toronto announced prior to the game that former player Jamaal Magloire was named a Basketball Development Consultant and Community Ambassador for the team. Magloire played the final season of his career with his hometown team last year.
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