Raptors Mo Hawks down

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

The holiday season is a time for giving and the Raptors and Atlanta Hawks followed Santa's marching orders.

The visiting Hawks committed 21 turnovers, helping the Raptors give their fans a long-awaited home win last night at the Air Canada Centre.

The NBA-worst Raptors (7-22) won for just the second time in 14 games at home this season, coming from behind to beat the lowly Atlanta Hawks 108-102 in the second installment of the battle for the basement.

"I think the win definitely is a stepping stone for us and our fans have been waiting for this for a while," said Raptors swingman Morris Peterson, who stepped up in a big way on the night he became the Raptors' career games leader (418 games).

"I think we owed it to them. All they ask is for us to come out and play hard and give 110%. When we do that, we're a pretty good team. When we don't do that, we're a bad team."

A large crowd of 18,326 watched the Raptors erase an eight-point fourth-quarter hole, allowing Toronto to improve to 2-0 against the second-worst Hawks (7-20) this season. With the win, Toronto snapped a six-game home losing streak.

Beyond horrible on defence most of the night, the Raptors finally made some plays without the ball in the fourth quarter. The Hawks, who shot 56.3% from the field, also chipped in by treating the ball as a ticking time bomb at times.

But give the Raptors credit. Jalen Rose's steal of an inbound pass and his ensuing basket and foul for his first three points of the night cut the Hawks' lead to 91-88 and served as a turning point. The Hawks looked like they were going to run away when they went on a 10-0 run early in the fourth, rendering the Raptors' season-high 35 point first quarter meaningless.

Peterson hit a tough jumper as the shot clock expired to give the Raptors a 96-94 lead with 2:35 left and they extended the bulge from there. The surging Mo Pete finished with a season-high 26 points, second only to point guard Mike James with 28.

"I thought Mo was great," coach Sam Mitchell said. "On one end, he's guarding Joe Johnson, who is an excellent player. And on the other end, he was able to score for us also. For the last week and a half, Mo has just been busting his hump. He's trying to do everything we're asking him to do. It's hard to say we want more out of him, but we (do)."

Most impressively, the Raptors won without a big contribution from Chris Bosh, who scored a December-low 15 points, a night after a career-high 37 point outing against the Detroit Pistons.

"We can't depend upon Chris Bosh to have a great game every single night," James said. "He's been putting us on his back every night and so guys have got to step up and give him some help."

The Raptors conclude 2005 with a road game against the Ron Artest-less Indiana Pacers tomorrow. With a win, they would finish December with a .500 record of 7-7.


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