A bad half of defense will be overshadowed by Orlando posting
the NBA's highest-scoring game of the season against the Toronto
Raptors on Wednesday night. Fans will look at the box score and see
eight players in double figures for only the second time in
franchise history, another NBA season high in 51 field goals and
the 61-32 rebounding advantage.
Later Wednesday, Seattle tied Orlando's scoring output in a
129-119 overtime victory over Utah.
Cato would like his teammates to choke on the Raptors'
first-half numbers: 60 points on 51.1 percent shooting.
"You need 22-point quarters and 15-point quarters," Cato said.
"That's how you win ballgames. Offense is great, but you can't
Added Steve Francis, whose 23 points led Orlando: "Everybody
contributed on the offensive end, but we still gave up too many
Yet Cato had to concede these warnings would ring a little
hollow on a night like this.
"We made shots," said Cato, who had his second straight
double-double with 12 points and a season-best 14 rebounds.
"That's all that matters."
In Monday's loss to Boston, Francis and Grant Hill combined to
shoot 10-of-30 for 25 points. Against Toronto, they had 40 points
on 14-for-25 shooting.
"We came out with more intensity tonight," said Hill, who
scored 17. "We were serious in here before the game."
Cuttino Mobley, sidelined the previous nine games with a groin
strain, scored 16.
"I've never sat out before, so it hurt," Mobley said. "But to
keep mentally involved, I got on Grant's nerves, Steve's nerves and
everybody else's nerves. Yeah, refs, too."
Dwight Howard had 15 points and a season-high 20 rebounds. It
was the most rebounds by a rookie since Amare Stoudemire's 21 on
Nov. 10, 2002, and the most by an Orlando player since Ben Wallace
grabbed 20 on April 14, 2000.
"I'm happy, but I'm not satisfied -- it's too early in the
season," said Howard, who had his third straight double-double.
"I would love to get 20 rebounds in a close game, instead of a
game that was out of reach for the other team."
Hedo Turkoglu had 15 points, DeShawn Stevenson 13 and Jameer
Said Orlando coach Johnny Davis: "We shot the ball very well,
we moved the ball very well and just played a good, solid game."
What Orlando did very well, Toronto did not. After a half that
saw the Raptors trailing by just eight, they missed 17 of 22 shots
for a 15-point third quarter and trailed by 38, 123-85, midway
through the fourth.
"We were a step behind all night," said Vince Carter,
Toronto's leading scorer with 21. "Rebounding, of course. Loose
balls, transition -- everything."
This was game No. 2 of Toronto's second six-game road trip of
the season. The Raptors went 1-5 on a trip through six Western
Conference cities Nov. 9-17.
"How did we get so blessed to get this type of schedule, I have
no idea," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "It wasn't the man
upstairs who gave us this schedule; it was the man below."
Before the game, Orlando placed forward Pat Garrity on the
injured list with a sprained left foot. To fill the roster spot,
forward Stacy Augmon was activated. Augmon was scoreless, missing
two shots. ... Over the last eight games, since the beginning of
the 2002-03 season, the teams have alternated wins.
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