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Bosh, Raptors hold off Bobcats to snap skid

Nov 27, 2008 - 4:45 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Chris Bosh continues to carry the Toronto Raptors.

The All-Star forward scored 39 points and pulled down 11 boards to help the Raptors snap a two-game skid by edging the Charlotte Bobcats, 93-86, on Wednesday night.

Bosh, who came into the game third in the league in scoring, is now averaging 32.0 points over his last five games - including two nights with at least 40. This time, he came up big in arguably the biggest moment of the night.

"I'm feeling very confident right now," Bosh said. "I could tell early that I was going to have a good night. I'm just able to pick my spots better to do what I can do."

The Bobcats, who had hung tight for most of the evening, pulled to within one with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, as Emeka Okafor buried a short jumper to cap a 6-0 run that cut Toronto's lead to 87-86. But Bosh quelled the momentum with one shot, burying a jumper of his own and the Raptors closed the game with a 6-0 surge.

"We just really buckled down defensively at the end," Bosh said. "We were having a tough time hitting our shots, but we were able to get things done when we needed to."

Charlotte missed its last five field-goal attempts and turned the ball over three times over the last 1:24.

Wednesday marked the second time the Bobcats have played the Raptors close - and the second time they fell just short. In a November 9 meeting in Charlotte, the Raptors exploded in the fourth quarter - outscoring their counterparts 26-12 in the final frame - to rally for an 89-79 win.

Bosh collected 30 points and 15 boards in the first meeting and outdid himself in Wednesday's rematch. The Bobcats took a four-point lead early in the second quarter and Bosh answered with a three-point play to pull to within one. He added a pair of long jumpers on consecutive possessions, then connected from short range moments later as Toronto opened up a lead.

"Every time they needed a basket, they were able to execute and get a basket," Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said. "We missed a lot of layups and point-blank shots that I thought were already in but came back out. That was the difference in the game."

He scored eight straight points midway through the third quarter and finished an impressive 15-of-20 from the floor and 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.

"All night, Bosh was able to control the game," Okafor said. "He had it going at both ends of the floor all game. He's tough to handle. I thought we played well enough to win, but we just couldn't get the ball to go in down the stretch. We missed a lot of easy shots."

Okafor nearly singlehandedly brought Charlotte back in the fourth quarter. The fifth-year forward scored 10 of his 16 points in the frame, including a 15-footer with 2:58 on the clock that pulled his team to within one at 87-86. But that was the last basket of the night for the Bobcats, who continue to struggle to put points on the board.

"We played good defense," Bosh said. "We didn't shoot the ball as well as we can, but our defense kept us in the game."

Charlotte is the lowest-scoring team in the NBA, averaging 87 points per game despite a roster filled to the brim with lottery picks from the last few years.

Okafor added 14 rebounds and Wallace led the Bobcats with 23 points.

Bosh had some help on the offensive end as well, as Joey Graham came off the bench to pour in 17 points and Jose Calderon added 10 and nine assists.

"We really needed this win tonight," Toronto forward Andrea Bargnani said. "We played a much better game defensively and Joey was very good. C.B. is our leader and he played very well tonight like he has all season."

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    Hornets 86, Raptors 93  FinalNov 27 1:18 AM

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    Hornets 84, Raptors 87  4th - 3:05Nov 26 9:14 PM

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