Raps fall with Bosh

STEVE BUFFERY, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

ATLANTA -- Chris Bosh generally feels at home playing in Atlanta, given the fact that he played his college ball at nearby Georgia Tech.

But the Raptors' star forward couldn't get out of town fast enough last night.

Hampered by a sore right knee, a frustrated Bosh shot 2-for-9 from the floor, while scoring a sub-par 11 points with seven rebounds. And when Bosh struggles, the Raptors struggle, which was the case as Toronto fell to the Atlanta Hawks, 97-93, despite the best efforts of point guard T.J. Ford, who scored 17 points in the fourth quarter alone.

Afterwards, Bosh denied that his knee, which was covered in a brace, affected his play.

MADE IT TOUGH

"I guess that's your assessment," he said, when it was suggested the knee slowed him down. "I think Atlanta did more of a good job controlling me. They doubled me a lot and it made it tough for me to score.

"I went by a couple of guys, I got up and down the floor pretty good. It's just they did a good job of clogging up the lane. Give credit to Atlanta."

The Hawks, who had lost four in a row heading into the game, held a seven-point lead after the third quarter and extended that to 12 with 6:44 to go in the fourth.

Ford then put it in overdrive, scoring 13 points in the final four minutes. But his effort wasn't enough as the Raptors fell to the Hawks for the second time this season.

"You try to dig deep and try to take the game to the next level," Ford said of his late-game heroics. "We had our chances, but they came down and executed and made shots."

Ford was unconscious in the fourth, scoring from inside and out, including a three-pointer with 27 seconds remaining on the clock. He finished with 25 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, his best game for the Raptors so far. The diminutive guard even executed a highlight-reel dunk with 2:22 to go to bring the Raptors to within four.

The loss also spoiled a big effort for rookie forward Jorge Garbajosa, who stepped up with Bosh off his game. The Spanish national team star recorded his second double-double of the season, with 15 points and 12 boards.

Hawks shooting guard Joe Johnson, who killed the Raptors the previous time the two teams played this season, led the home side with 27 points while point guard Tyronn Lue had 16 off the bench.

The game started off so promising for the Raptors as Garbajosa shot 4-for-4 to lift Toronto to a 16-13 lead.

However, the Hawks went on a 14-3 run late in the first quarter and took a 32-23 lead.

"We had our chances, but they came down and executed and made shots."

RAPTORS' T.J. FORD

The highlight of the first half, however, occurred with about four minutes left when Raptors' Joey Graham completed a fast break with a spectacular one-handed dunk on an alley-oop pass from Ford which gave Toronto a 45-38 lead.

Shortly after that, Raps head coach Sam Mitchell picked up a technical foul when he made his frustrations known to the referees about the way Zaza Pachulia was guarding Bosh.

Toronto led 48-47 at the half, but turned the ball over 12 times.

Raptors guard Darrick Martin then picked up a technical midway through the third when he said something from the bench, sparking this debate between Mitchell and referee Tim Donaghy.

"Tim! What did he do?" Mitchell yelled.

"Too much," Donaghy replied.

Martin has yet to play this season and has been acting as a de facto coach.

The Raptors trailed 72-65 at the end of three quarters and sealed their fate by starting the fourth quarter shooting 0-for-6.

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REPORT CARD

B - Offence: The Raptors shot a decent 46% from the field, but had only 12 fast-break points, not great for a uptempo offence.

C Defence: The Raptors committed 16 turnovers, directly leading to 16 Atlanta points, and allowed the Hawks to shoot 49% from the floor.


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