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News » Road-weary Raptors no match for Mavericks

Road-weary Raptors no match for Mavericks

Road-weary Raptors no match for MavericksThere was no Magic on this night, no barrage of three-pointers and no defence as it was scripted.

It was a tired team against a superior opponent and a night that held little in the way of surprises.

Coming off the high of a big road win on Friday, the weary Raptors were drubbed 129-101 by the well-rested Dallas Mavericks Saturday night, losing the game here in the same manner they won one a night earlier in New Orleans.

After sticking around despite not playing very well in the first half, the Raptors had no third quarter Magic this time around, being outscored 30-22 in the frame when the game got out of hand.

And the Mavs, led by 29 points from Dirk Nowitzki, kept the onslaught going for a fourth quarter that degenerated into garbage time for the final five minutes.

The Raptors just didn't play well in any facet of the game. They were a step slow on their defensive rotations, a split second off in moving the ball on offence and looked like a team playing its first back-to-back of the season.

Josh Howard, who made his return for Dallas after missing five games due to an ankle injury, had 16 points for the Mavs.

For Toronto, there was little to get excited about as the Raptors lost their 10th straight game in Dallas.

Chris Bosh was their best player, with 26 points and 12 rebounds but had only 11 points and two boards in the second half. Andrea Bargnani had 22 points and Jose Calderon 13.

Bosh, who went into Saturday's action fourth in the NBA in scoring (29 points per game) and tied for second in rebounding (11.8 per game) had been playing with a decided "edge" through his first five games.

He seems more demonstrative the court and more aggressive on the glass, facts not lost on his teammates.

"Chris is unbelievable," said guard Jarrett Jack. "We haven't seen anybody who can really challenge him down on the low block and I hope he keeps that mentality.

"There's a mean streak he has about him this year. I don't know what it is, the extra weight or whatever, but I think if he keeps that tenacious mindset, the sky's the limit, who knows how great he can be."

Bosh, back in his hometown Saturday night, had been looking for his first win as a visiting player. He has been in the lineup seven times in the Raptors' 10 straight losses in Dallas, which includes two blown 24-point leads.

"We just weren't good teams back then," said Bosh. "No offence to the guys and myself but we weren't good teams back then. There's a whole bunch of things that can happen, they get hot, a timeout at the right time, or we didn't call the right plays or we didn't defend well."

Bosh did his part in trying to keep Toronto close in the first half, picking up 15 points and 10 rebounds in the opening two quarters as Dallas took a 55-48 lead at the intermission.

The Mavs, boosted by Howard's season debut after recuperating from ankle surgery, blistered Toronto's defence by shooting 52 per cent in the first half.

Howard made a rather seamless return, scoring 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting in 20 first-half minutes.

"Some guys come back and they're chomping at the bit and other guys struggle to find a rhythm," Toronto coach Jay Triano said before the game.

"We've been pretty focused on our stuff. Obviously, we have to make some adjustments as he game goes on and that's how you make the reads on players like that."

Jack, the most vocal of the Raptors and a newcomer who's fitting into a leadership role quite well, said he's been harping to Bosh about the need for consistency - and an increased role - since the season began.

"I don't let him get a minute off," said Jack. "Every single time I'm telling him, 'it's coming down there (to Bosh in the low post), don't settle, face him up, do whatever you have to do, don't let them relax at all.' And I think he's really taken that approach."

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Added: November 9, 2009


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