Raptors lose to Warriors

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

OAKLAND -- The Raptors tried to match jump shots with the Golden State Warriors, but they couldn't sustain their long-range aim.

As a result, the Raptors dropped a 117-111 decision to the host Warriors that dropped Toronto's record to 12-19.

The Raptors completed their six-game road trip by going 2-4.

The immediate future doesn't look good, either, with upcoming home games against Denver, Houston and Orlando.

Chris Bosh was a warrior for the Raptors in a losing cause, scoring a team-high 30 points and hauling down a team-high 14 rebounds.

Stephen Jackson paced the Warriors with 30 points, one of five Golden State players to reach double digits in scoring.

Jermaine O'Neal tried to play through flu-like symptoms, but was forced out of the game after playing nine minutes.

He first left the Oracle Arena court in the first quarter with the Raptors leading 19-15.

He returned briefly in the second period when he banged knees while chasing a loose ball and was never to be seen.

The Raptors were quick to announce that O'Neal's knee, his right and not the troublesome left knee, was fine and that his unavailability was based strictly on flu-like symptoms.

For the game, O'Neal played nine minutes, scoring two points on 1-of-4 shooting, while recording three rebounds.

Without O'Neal, the Raptors turned to seldom-used centre Jake Voskuhl and even gave Kris Humphries minutes.

Golden State loves to push the ball upcourt and is very thin on its frontline, save for Andris Biedrins, who is an all-star in the making.

Warriors head coach Don Nelson surrounds Biedrins with quick, perimeter players who heave shots from virtually every spot on the floor.

When they are making shots, the Warriors are a tough team to defend, as the Raptors can attest.

Marco Belinelli outplayed his Italian countryman Andrea Bargnani by being aggressive and by making nice touch passes.

Bargnani was forced to play centre at times in O'Neal's absence, while Belinelli showed his ball handling skills by bringing the ball up court during some of Golden State's sets.

Toronto began the game by jumping out to a 29-28 lead after the first quarter.

When the second quarter began, the Raptors had the unlikely unit of Will Solomon, Anthony Parker, Joey Graham, Bargnani and Voskuhl on the floor.

Once again, Toronto's need for a backup to Jose Calderon at point guard was evident.

Once again, Toronto's need for a consistent shooting guard was exposed.

Jason Kapono, who went 0-for-5 in Portland on Saturday, missed his first three shots from the field last night before nailing a transition three.

With the host Warriors shooting the lights out in the second quarter, the home team took a 60-52 lead into the halftime intermission.

Golden State, though, is very vulnerable on the defensive end and when its shots don't fall, any lead, no matter how large, is manageable.

The Warriors led by double digits in the third quarter, but took an 86-79 lead into the final 12 minutes.

One of Toronto's catalysts was Humphries, who was aggressive in attacking the basket.

Humphries was very efficient with his offence and reached double figures in scoring in 11 minutes.

The Raptors were able to hang around because the Warriors could not defend Bosh.

When Jackson was asked Bosh, the Raptors power forward simply backed Jackson into the paint and scored at will.

As difficult as Bosh was to contain for Golden State, the Raptors had an equally tough time on Jackson, a shot-happy shooting guard who reached the 30-point mark by taking 19 shots. He also attempted 10 free throws, making all 10.

Bosh reached the 30-point plateau by drilling an open three-pointer that brough the Raptors to within two points, 106-104, with three minutes left in the game.

Toronto had three good looks at the basket, each from beyond the three-point arc, but couldn't find net.

A put-back basket by Biedrins gave Golden State a 108-104 lead with 2:05 to play.

Toronto made its run with Bosh, Kapono, Calderon, Graham and Parker on the floor.

In the end, though, Toronto couldn't make enough shots.


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