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Bosh pours in 24 as Raptors edge red-hot Wizards

Jan 7, 2007 - 10:28 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Toronto Raptors must be happy to have Chris Bosh back and healthy.

Bosh scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to pace the Raptors to a 116-111 triumph over the red-hot Washington Wizards.

One of the NBA's brightest young stars, Bosh was sidelined for 12 games from December 10-30 with an injured left knee. But the 6-10 forward has been his usual solid self since returning to action, averaging 23.7 points and 11.0 rebounds in three games.

"We can't be picky about wins," said Bosh, who also dished out five assists. "I'm not picky with them. We won the game; they made a lot of tough shots down the stretch."

Bosh shot 9-of-21 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the line to pace six Raptors in double figures. The All-Star was pleased to have point guard T.J. Ford and forward Jorge Garbajosa back in the lineup. Ford had missed three games with a sprained ankle while Garbajosa was sidelined the last two contests with a calf injury.

"It feels real good to have T.J. and (Garbajosa) back," Bosh said. "It was the first time in a while we've seen everyone together, especially since we have been playing a little bit better basketball."

Ford scored 20 points, Anthony Parker had 16 points and six assists and Joey Graham chipped in 15 points off the bench for Toronto, which shot 51 percent (47-of-92) from the floor.

"It was good to get the win," Ford said. "My confidence is to the sky. It's a matter of getting wins now, and I just felt this is the opportunity to take advantage of."

With the victory, the Raptors (15-19) climbed one-half game ahead of the idle New Jersey Nets (14-19) for first place in the Atlantic Division.

"They got all their people back," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "They got T.J. Ford and Garbajosa making plays, Chris Bosh in the paint - they spread you out. They've got a good roster, they're a good team."

The Raptors entered the break with a 57-51 advantage and pulled away thanks to a 26-11 run which bridged the third and fourth quarters. Bosh scored six points during the surge and Jose Calderon capped the outburst with a layup to make it 99-77 with 7:41 remaining.

"They were just a better team," Jordan said. "We did the best we could to get the pressure up coming down the stretch. The pressure was good, but we just couldn't handle Chris Bosh one-on-one, and when we double-teamed him they found the right guy to get open."

Washington cut its deficit thanks to a 41-point fourth quarter but looked stagnant for most of the afternoon.

"Hey, we made some mistakes down the stretch, they made some mistakes down the stretch," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "They hit some tough tough threes, we made some mental errors.

"But you know what, our guys won the game against a good basketball team that's been playing extremely well."

Superstar guard Gilbert Arenas scored 33 points but shot just 7-of-19 for the Wizards, who lost for just the fifth time in their last 19 games.

"We didn't play bad, we just didn't make shots today," said Arenas, who made up for his poor shooting performance by going 17-of-21 from the line. "We played well at the end, forced some turnovers and some missed shots, but we couldn't get a handle on Bosh at the beginning."

Caron Butler scored 24 points and Antawn Jamison added 17 and 14 rebounds for Washington, which lost for just the third time in its last 11 meetings with Toronto.

"We did a great job of holding Gilbert to tough shots," Graham said. "But down the stretch, Caron and Jamison, they hit some big threes and had us on our heels a little bit."

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