Raptors 100, Nets 90
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)
The message was simple. Play some basketball, have some fun and score 30 points.
Bosh did that and more, scoring 23 of his 36 points in the second half and the Raptors kept the Nets on the road to an NBA single-season record for losses with a 100-90 victory Saturday night.
``They were just on me about playing basketball and that made it fun,'' Bosh said after the Raptors won for only the third time in 13 games.
``They were telling me what they wanted to see from me and what they wanted me to do, and anytime that happens, I see that as a challenge, and you know you don't feel like you are out there by yourself.''
Playing in his 500th game as a Raptor, Bosh hit 16 of 27 shots from the field in helping the Toronto rally from a seven-point deficit early in the third quarter.
After Toronto fell behind 55-48, Bosh hit 7 of 10 shots the rest of the period to key a 32-15 run that gave Toronto an 80-70 lead entering the final quarter.
``I just had opportunities that's how I play basketball,'' Bosh said. ``If I feel I can provide a spark for my team I am going to come out and do that. It worked out today.''
Bosh was particularly good at getting away from Nets center Brook Lopez (18 points, 13 rebounds) for open jumpers or driving by the defense when they got too close.
Raptors forward Reggie Evans just smiled when asked about Bosh's game.
``That's why you hear him with the talk about Dwyane Wade and LeBron James,'' Evans said. ``That's nothing new for him. That was a good game for him and all of us. When he gets it going it opens doors for everyone.''
Jack added 15 points, and Hedo Turkoglu had 13 as the Raptors sent New Jersey (7-62) to its seventh straight loss.
At 7-62 with 13 games left, the Nets are in danger of breaking the NBA mark for single-season futility, set by Philadelphia (9-73) in 1972-73.
``The effort was definitely better, but we're still floating around that 42-minute mark, where we really need to get that effort for 48 minutes,'' said Nets guard Devin Harris, who scored 22 points in his return from a respiratory illness that sidelined him two games. ``We played well in the first half, but in the third quarter they came out very aggressive. Bosh got going and it carried them through the game.''
Coupled with Chicago's win over Philadelphia, the Raptors have a 2 1/2-game lead over Chicago in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
``It was good to get tonight because sometimes we've played to the level of our competition when we haven't been doing good,'' Evans said. ``It was a win not to play to the level of our competition.''
New Jersey got within seven points a couple of times down the stretch but Bosh hit two free throws with 4:58 to go and Sonny Weems scored on a layup the other time for a 94-85 lead. Bosh iced the game with a big dunk seconds later.
``We're to the point where we need to win every game,'' Bosh said. ``I wouldn't say we were facing a loss, that's pretty strong words. We had a good lead going to the fourth quarter and we sustained it. Give credit to everyone we played well, We just won a game we were supposed to win.''
NOTES Banks didn't make it off the Raptors bench but he got a technical foul from Bob Delaney for arguing a foul call against Andrea Bargnani. ... Turkoglu and Evans also got technicals. The Nets were called for two defensive 3-second technicals. ... Toronto is 20-0 when holding opponents under 100 points. ... Toronto swept the four-game season series.