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Raptors beat Hornets, end 14-game road slide

Nov 29, 2006 - 3:26 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors have had trouble winning on the road until they encountered the New Orleans Hornets, who have problems of their own.

Bosh scored 11 of his 19 points in a telling third quarter and added 14 rebounds as the Raptors ended a 14-game road losing streak with a 94-77 victory over the slumping, banged-up Hornets.

Anthony Parker also scored 19 points for the Raptors, who received 45 points from their bench and won on the road for the first time since March 21 of last season at New York.

"We needed it; we've been close a few times," said Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, whose team was 0-7 on the road this season. "We played well when we needed it. We got some timely stops and some timely baskets and we talked about if we get a lead to try and build on it with defense."

"That was a big monkey (off our back)," Bosh said. "We played well. They jumped on us early, but we stayed on them and rebounded well, and in the end we only gave them one shot."

Playing without injured starting forwards Peja Stojakovic (back) and David West (forearm), the Hornets lost their fourth straight game. Without their leading scorers and two of their better perimeter shooters, they were neutralized by a zone defense and shot 42 percent (32-of-77) from the field.

"Our zone was big for us, and we finished it off with rebounding, especially with Rasho (Nesterovic) and Andrea Bargnani," Mitchell said. "It's hard to shoot over those guys in the zone. They don't have to block shots, just change shots."

"We got some good looks against their zone, but we just didn't knock down shots," said forward Rasual Butler, who scored 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting. "I didn't knock down shots. We got to find a way to get it done and get our swagger back."

There were no such problems for the Raptors, who have won consecutive games for the first time this season. They grabbed the lead for good in the second quarter and took control in the third, when Bosh got hot and the Hornets went cold.

Bosh had a three-point play and two free throws in a 9-0 run that closed the quarter and gave Toronto a 72-59 lead. That began a stretch where the Hornets went nearly 5 1/2 minutes without a bucket.

A layup and jumper by top overall draft pick Bargnani, who scored a season-high 16 points, extended the advantage to 83-64 with 6:58 to play and silenced the usually raucous Ford Center.

"I was happy to get the win," Bargnani said. "I did not know I got it until I was in the locker room, but I felt good and I'm happy with my job."

Despite extended garbage time, the Hornets scored just 32 points in the second half.

"Right now it's not our defense that's letting us down, it's not hitting open shots, and not getting rebounds," guard Bobby Jackson said. "I'm not hitting open shots and it's really hurting the team."

Joey Graham scored 14 points and Jose Calderon added 13 for the Raptors, who shot 45 percent (35-of-78). The bench made 18-of-34 shots.

"We feel like part of our strengths is depth at certain positions," Mitchell said. "T.J. (point guard T.J. Ford) didn't have it tonight, but Jose stepped in and ran the ballclub great. We're going to ride our bench as long as we can."

Chris Paul had 16 points and 11 assists and Tyson Chandler grabbed 17 rebounds for the Hornets, who received just 23 points from their bench.

"Again, another team has come to our home and outplayed and outworked us," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "One thing we did a lot last year was show resiliency. We aren't showing that right now.

"I expect us after a three-game losing streak to come out and play hard and we didn't execute. We are hoping a team gives us a win or hope they are feeling a little sorry for us because we are missing our top two scorers."

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