Especially considering the Magic lost by six.
Howard matched career highs in both points and field goals. But while Toronto went 14-of-15 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, Howard was languishing through an 11-for-18 performance from the stripe.
"That's about what he shoots, but it's not good enough," Van Gundy said. "Sixty percent at the free throw line makes it tough. We've got a tremendous advantage down there. They couldn't guard him at all, but they get to the fourth quarter and they just foul and it's one for two every time. Then you're coming to the other end and it's two for two. That's a big difference."
Howard wasn't beating himself up over the misses, four of which came in the final quarter.
"I'm going to miss free throws," said Howard, who came in shooting a career-low 56.7 percent from the line this season. "I'm not 100 percent from the line. I've just got to have confidence when I step up there to make them. I know Stan gets on me a lot, but I'm going to miss some and I'm going to make some."
Howard, who had eight rebounds, took responsibility for some of the Magic's other problems.
"We didn't play as good as we needed to play," he said. "We didn't block out on rebounds, we didn't do a lot of the little things and I take the blame for a lot of the stuff that happened tonight. I wasn't there defensively like I should have been."
After seven lead changes, Bosh broke a 101-all tie with a pair of free throws with 2:27 left, putting the Raptors on top for good. Bosh finished 13-for-14 from the line, including 7-for-8 in the fourth quarter.
"We made very poor plays down the stretch, very poor turnovers and bad shots down the stretch, and they made good plays and got to the free throw line," Van Gundy said. "The team that won is the team that deserved to win. I thought they played harder and better."
"Every game from now on is the biggest game of the year," Bosh said. "We'll take any win, any way we can get it."
Howard scored nine points before the game was three minutes old but was forced to the bench after picking up his second foul at 9:25. Toronto took advantage, closing the first quarter on a 20-5 run to lead 34-22.
"It was a little tough," Howard said. "You've just got to try to stay out of foul trouble. I was a very amped up for the game."
Howard returned to start the second, but Toronto pushed its lead to 44-28 before Orlando clawed back. Nelson had eight points and Howard added nine more in the quarter as the Magic cut the gap to 56-49 at the half.
A 10-2 run to end the third gave Orlando its first lead since 15-14 midway through the first quarter, with Howard's breakaway dunk with 33 seconds left sending the Magic into the final frame holding a 78-77 edge.
Toronto forward Jermaine O'Neal (right knee) missed his third consecutive game, while guard Jose Calderon (right hamstring) did not dress. Coach Jay Triano said Calderon would likely miss this week's road trip to Milwaukee and Washington.
- Toronto had not won back-to-back home games since beating Charlotte and Atlanta on Nov. 26 and 28.
- Howard also scored 39 against Seattle on Nov. 28, 2007.
- All six of Lewis' field goals were 3-pointers.
- Orlando recorded a season-high 27 assists.