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Bosh returns as Raptors rally past Rockets

Dec 9, 2007 - 10:16 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Chris Bosh returned to spark the slumping Toronto Raptors.

Bosh scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half as the Raptors overcame a sluggish start Sunday afternoon to defeat the Houston Rockets, 93-80.

It was an impressive victory for Toronto, which had been playing without Bosh and fellow injured forward Andrea Bargnani.

Although Bargnani missed his fourth straight game with a knee injury, Bosh returned from a five-game absence to lead the Raptors, who erased a 16-2 first-quarter deficit.

"The thing I love about this team is we stay with it, no matter what happens," Bosh said. "We continue to play defense."

"I thought with Chris Bosh, just his presence just opened things up," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell added.

A two-time All-Star, Bosh had been sidelined with a groin injury. But the talented big man certainly looked healthy in this one, shooting 7-of-17 from the floor while finishing with 10 rebounds and four blocks.

Bosh capped his afternoon with a free throw to make it 91-76 with 1:04 remaining. The 23-year-old exited to a standing ovation from the appreciative fans at Air Canada Centre.

"I wanted to come back when the time was right," Bosh said. "It was a big game at home. I just wanted to come out and give it a go."

Reserve Kris Humphries collected 16 points and nine rebounds while Rasho Nesterovic spearheaded a terrific defensive effort against Rockets All-Star center Yao Ming, who finished with just 15 points.

"Yao is Yao," Humphries said. "For us, we just want to try to be aggressive and take him out of what he is doing. It's a tough assignment."

Carlos Delfino scored 12 points off the bench, Anthony Parker chipped in 11 and reserve Jason Kapono added 10 for Toronto, which has won five of its last six home games to improve to 7-5 here this season.

"We had a very good home record last year," Bosh said. "I think we can do a repeat of the same thing. I think today was a start."

After rallying from their 14-point deficit to claw within 45-34 at halftime, the Raptors dominated the pivotal third quarter, outscoring the Rockets by a 28-11 margin.

Houston made just 4-of-16 shots in the third quarter en route to their lowest scoring total in a single period this year.

"We just stopped moving the ball," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "We started missing shots and got even more stagnant."

Tracy McGrady, who began his stellar NBA career with the Raptors, scored 23 points on just 7-of-21 shooting for Houston, which has lost four of its last five meetings with Toronto.

"They did a good job of doubling both on Tracy and Yao," Adelman said. "We really didn't have an answer for it."

Houston shot just 28-of-70 (40 percent) from the floor, including 7-of-19 from the arc, and were outrebounded by a margin of 48-35.

Bonzi Wells scored 12 points off the bench for the Rockets, who have lost nine of their last 14 games after starting the season with a 6-1 mark.

"The way we played in the second half is the way they played in the first half," said McGrady, who spent his first three seasons in Toronto before signing with the Orlando Magic prior to the 2000-01 campaign.

"We had energy in the first half, they didn't. When the game really mattered, they had a lot more energy than we did."

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