Good news! Raptors win

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Believe it or not, the Raptors are capable of getting through a day without terrible news emerging from the locker-room.

They proved that last night as they actually won a game and avoided trade demands, rumoured fights and having a player escorted out of the arena by security guards.

Though they blew a 20-point second-quarter lead, the Raptors managed to snap a four-game losing streak with a 109-106 win over the reeling Los Angeles Clippers before 15,721 at the Air Canada Centre.

"A win helps a lot," said Raptors forward Chris Bosh, who scored a game high-tying 26 points. "We needed it real bad."

Of course, it was asking far too much to expect a perfectly calm evening. Forward Jalen Rose, who didn't play in the fourth quarter, bolted from the locker-room quickly but reporters did catch up with him.

"No, I wasn't injured," said Rose, who finished with eight points after scoring 20 or more the past seven games. "I don't know why I played 23 minutes, but I'm happy the team won.

"We found a way to get it done in the fourth quarter. Obviously, I'm usually a key figure in the fourth quarter. (Last night) I wasn't needed."

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell opted to use point guards Rafer Alston and Milt Palacio together for most of the fourth, keeping Rose on the bench.

"As a coach, you just go by feel," Mitchell said. "Jalen has done so much for this team in the fourth quarter but Jalen understands that some nights other guys get an opportunity.

"It's one game. (We're) fortunate that (we are) able to win a game with one of our better players not playing as much."

Mitchell probably felt he had to shake things up after watching his team cough up a 63-49 halftime lead. The Raptors missed their first 15 shots from the field in the third quarter and watched the Clippers go on a 14-0 run. At one point in the third, the Clippers led by nine. The Raptors shot a dismal 4-for-21 in the third.

FIGHT BACK

"That performance in the third is inexcusable," said Alston, who finished with 18 points and eight assists. "We've got to figure out ways to not let that happen ever again.

"But we were able to fight back, hang tough and get some key stops and get the game where we had it in the first half and that's get it uptempo and really push it right at them."

Indeed, the Raptors looked good on the fast break at times in the fourth. Morris Peterson's running jam with less than three minutes to go put the Raptors up 100-94 and revved up a quiet crowd.

"(It's) typical," Palacio said. "You know we always have to put a little excitement into it. Go up, get down, come back."

Elton Brand scored 26 points for the Clippers (23-28), who have lost five games in a row.

The Raptors (21-31) play their final game before the all-star break against the Chicago Bulls at home on Wednesday.


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