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Bosh leads balanced attack against Bobcats

Apr 1, 2008 - 3:31 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Chris Bosh scored 32 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had five assists to lead a well-balanced attack for the Toronto Raptors as they picked up a 104-100 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday.

The Raptors (38-36) picked up one-half game to move a full game ahead of the idle Philadelphia 76ers for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Toronto's next four contests will be against teams that are a combined 61 games under .500.

Bosh, who finished 13-of-16 on free throws, also collected two of Toronto's six steals.

"I knew it was a matter of me imposing my will on the offensive end, but I wanted to do that on the defensive end too," Bosh said.

The win snapped a seven-game road losing streak for Toronto, which has limped to the finish with wins in just six of its last 18 contests. Charlotte has its three-game winning streak come to an end. The two team will meet in Toronto on Friday night.

"This was a real big game for us tonight," said Jamario Moon, who had 15 points and eight rebounds. "We came out with our game face tonight ready to play. We really picked it up in the third quarter and got out on them."

Rasho Nesterovic scored six of his 14 points during a 14-2 run that started the third quarter, capping it with a dunk with 6:43 to play.

"We didn't let down for 48 minutes tonight and were focused at the end," said Nesterovic, who also pulled down 11 rebounds. "They were in foul trouble early and we used that to our advantage."

"Rasho has been huge for us lately," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "We had to stop guys from getting in the paint tonight, and he did a good job preventing the Bobcats from doing that late in the game. Also, when Rasho starts scoring like he did tonight, it's a nice bonus."

The Raptors outscored Charlotte, 21-10, in the quarter and took a 79-73 lead into the fourth.

The Bobcats went just 5-of-19 from the field in the quarter and shot 35 percent (14-of-40) in the second half.

"We played hard," Jason Richardson said. "We put out a lot of effort tonight, but the shots that we normally hit just weren't going in."

The Bobcats quickly scored the first four points of the fourth to cut the lead to two, but Carlos Delfino converted a three-point play to push the lead to 82-77.

Jared Dudley got Charlotte as close as one at 84-83 on a reverse layup with 8:56 to play. However, the Raptors made 19-of-23 free throws in the fourth quarter, including a perfect 8-of-8 from Bosh, to keep the Bobcats at bay.

All five Raptors starters scored in double figures, with Anthony Parker adding 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

"We want everybody to be aggressive and take their open shots," Bosh said. "We don't want anyone hesitating out there. When we play well like that it really helps us out."

The Bobcats, who still have very slim playoff hopes, had won three straight games away from home on their just completed road trip, but were unable to overcome Bosh and his teammates.

Charlotte was led by Richardson's 23 points while Emeka Okafor collected a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

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