Raps catch break

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:20 AM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The basketball gods were smiling on the Raptors last night.

In a game in which their two-time all-star Chris Bosh was held to just six points through three quarters, the Raptors still found a way to take one from the Charlotte Bobcats.

In the second quarter, it was the bench coming up big holding down the fort while starters Bosh and Jorge Garbajosa looked on, both in early foul trouble.

In the third quarter it was the play of the Raptors guard tandem of Jose Calderon and T.J. Ford getting the offence re-energized and extending a three-point lead to nine.

In the fourth it was Bosh finding his zone, torching the Bobcats for 18 points.

It all added up to a 93-76 victory and if it wasn't the prettiest basketball this team has ever played, it was at least effective.

"We had to hold it down with Chris and some others in early foul trouble," swingman Morris Peterson said. "There are going to be games like that where you just have to come through. It was an ugly game, but sometimes when you're on the road you're going to have some ugly one's and if you can pull it out, that just says a lot about the character of your team."

Aiding the Raptors down the stretch were the absences of two of the Bobcats key players with Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor both leaving the game midway through the third quarter with a groin strain and a calf strain respectively. Neither returned.

While Bosh admitted Okafor's departure certainly changed things, he wasn't ready to concede that as the reason for his big fourth quarter.

"If I don't shoot particularly well the first half I just make sure I stay calm and stay in the game," Bosh said. "If I get frustrated that's when everything goes wrong.

"I felt that what happened (in the fourth) was going to happen anyway. It was inevitable. I was going to size him up a little more. He did a good job on me in the first half but eventually I was going to find a way to get it done."

Perhaps as much as any element of their game, the Raptors can pin this one on an all-around outstanding night defensively.

The Bobcats shot just 32.9% for the evening, a new low for a Raptors opponent this season.

"We were good," head coach Sam Mitchell replied when asked if this was as good defensively as his team has been this year. "Gerald Wallace has been playing well and we took some things away from him. (Matt) Carroll and (Adam) Morrison can really shoot the ball and we talked today about the need to make sure their shooters didn't get open looks and make them put the ball on the floor."

Even Juan Dixon, the newest Raptor fresh off a trade deadline deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, got in on the action, although Mitchell wasn't expecting to go to him quite so early.

Dixon spent the afternoon with the Raptors coaching staff in a hotel ballroom that had a court marked out in tape learning as much of the offence was he could.

---

REPORT CARD

C Offence: Outside of a quick start and a solid fourth quarter from Chris Bosh, this was not a banner night for the offence.

B Defence: Normally it's the Raptors offence that carries the night but not last night. The Raps picked things up on the defensive end holding Charlotte to 32.9% shooting.


Videos

Photos