Chris Bosh is rolling and his teammates are rolling right along with him.
The Raptors franchise player is locked in the kind of zone athletes -- who do pray -- must go home at night praying to find. Making things even more miserable for the defences trying to stop him is that every time they throw double and even triple coverages at him, Bosh unfailingly finds not just the open teammate but the teammate with the best chance to score and usually with the desired results.
The result last night was a dominant fourth quarter for Bosh, who scored 13 of his game-high 35 points, and a fourth consecutive home win for the Raptors who pulled away down the stretch for an 89-78 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Hawks hung tough in this game for the better part of 31/2 quarters but had no answer for Bosh when it came down to crunch time.
"He just feels like he can get the ball right now and he's going to score," Raps head coach Sam Mitchell said.
Bosh certainly wasn't going to disagree with that sentiment.
"We've been saying that for two, three, four or five days now," Bosh said laughing a little at his coach's expense. "I feel very confident. I think everything is opening up for me right now. I'm finally at 100% (health-wise). It has been a tough stretch for me but my team has given me confidence, the coaching staff has been giving me confidence and I just kept pushing through it."
Bosh has led the Raptors in scoring in each of the past five games, a span in which he has averaged 32 points. But even putting up those kinds of numbers, he has managed to keep his whole team involved.
"It's definitely the most points I've scored and it doesn't feel like I'm forcing the issue," Bosh said.
"I'm being aggressive when it's time to be aggressive but I don't feel I'm taking many bad shots. I'm getting off the double team really fast and I'm putting a lot of my teammates in good positions."
His teammates are well aware of it.
"Sometimes we need him to score 40," point guard Jose Calderon said, "but he draws the defenders to him and he can make plays for everybody else. That's our guy and hopefully he can play like this for a lot of games."
Bosh said the key is health and conditioning, two factors that are just lately both at peak form.
"From the beginning, it was frustrating to have my knee swell up out of nowhere and just coming off my foot injury," he said of his early season health issues.
"Just getting back into the swing of things is hard not having that much of a training camp and trying to get back in shape. It has been a long, tough stretch but I feel like I'm coming around at the right time."
Of course this wouldn't be a Raptors/Hawks game without something freaky happening and veteran point guard Anthony Johnson took care of that just before halftime.
Johnson, who could be seen jawing at Calderon as teammate Marvin Williams took foul shots a series earlier, took drastic action as the Raptors were setting up their offence on the ensuring series. With Calderon's back to him, Johnson ran by and threw an elbow at the back of the Toronto point guard's head knocking him to the court.
The attack earned Johnson a flagrant foul-2 which brings an immediate ejection and an automatic review which could mean more punishment.
Calderon said he had no idea what prompted Johnson's anger. Asked about the seemingly heated conversation behind the foul line earlier, Calderon denied it was heated at all.
"We were talking about basketball," he said in rather unconvincing fashion.
The Hawks had cut the Raptors lead to two with four minutes left, when Anthony Parker hit a contested three with the shot clock winding down. The Raps scored the next five points and the Hawks never got close again.
HORFORD HEARS IT
The Raptors may have forgotten and forgiven Al Horford for his flagrant foul that sidelined T.J. Ford, but the Raptors faithful have not. Horford heard it from last night's sellout crowd every time he was announced or touched the ball.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
He's not family yet but Parker's future brother-in law, Atlanta forward Shelden Williams, was in uniform last night for the Hawks. Williams and Parker's sister, Tennessee standout Candace Parker, are engaged .