The one that got away

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

This was a battle of first-round draft picks and playoff wannabes.

Raptor Andrea Bargnani had a career night to beat Derrick Rose on points, but Rose breathed enough fourth-quarter life into his Chicago Bulls for a 102-98 win, denying Toronto's attempt to bump the visitors out of 10th place in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors had a chance to tie the game with six seconds to go and the ball in captain Chris Bosh's hands from 13 feet out, but he couldn't get his pump-fake jumper past Joakim Noah.

Bargnani, in the latest of a series of big games in place of the injured Jermaine O'Neal, had a career-best 31 points.

"I don't want to talk about me when we're in a bad moment right now," Bargnani said afterwards. "We've lost three in a row, we are (shooting) under 50%, we're far from eighth spot ... it might be the worst of the three games."

Bargnani was picked first in 2006, Rose was No. 1 last season, while 2007's top choice, Greg Oden, missed his rookie year with foot surgery. Rose seemed to have an answer to thwart every Raptors rally after Toronto fought back from a flat start and 12-point deficit early in the game. He had 17 fourth-quarter points and 25 overall.

Triano knew something of Rose's screen and roll ability from coaching the U.S. select college team, which scrimmaged against the American Olympic team in Las Vegas last summer.

"We tried switching it with guys who could guard the screen and role, such as Jamario Moon. We tried trapping it early, we tried making him go one way," Triano said. "But they have guys who can shoot the three and that made it hard to keep him in front of us. Rose was sharing the ball and making the plays, too.

"They had 12 offensive rebounds at halftime. It deflates you when you play good defence, force them to miss shots and they get the ball again. We tried to pound it inside and score, but didn't get the buckets when we needed them."

Bosh matched Rose's 25 points, but was kicking himself for over-complicating his tying attempt. That came after Chicago held a four-point lead and had the ball with 1:15 to go, only to miss a key shot and have a miracle rebound land in Roko Ukic's lap while he was on the floor with his back to the play.

"I made a mistake, but I have to move on," Bosh said. "It won't be the last time I'm in a situation like this. I have to learn from it, capitalize next time. I should have shot instead of pump-faking and letting (Noah) back in the play.

"We can't turn the corner right now, but we have to keep playing. We have to be the aggressors early and really impose our will."

Triano would prefer keep his team focused on the big 82-game picture, but knows that's hard when the Bulls are parked right in front of them in the standings and staring across at them last night at tipoff.

"I don't think our guys would understand that old hockey terminology of a four-pointer, but really that's what it is," he said before the game. "It's not like our guys are any different than the fans of this team. They look at the standings and know (Chicago) is right there and we have to separate ourselves from them if we're to play in the post- season."

Though they lost twice to the world champion Celtics, the Raptors were hoping to bring some of Monday's momentum from Boston when they forced overtime before falling by six.

Chicago had lost eight of nine on the road coming in.

"These are some of the teams that are ahead of us and we'll see them a lot more in the second half of the season," Bosh said of the first of four meetings. "We have to be a lot more conscious and aware of who is front of us and try to win every game."

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REPLAY

BAD OMENS

It looked like a long night for the home team in the first half when ungainly rookie Joakim Noah had four quick buckets, Derrick Rose's long-range low bridge shot glanced off Andrea Bargnani's hand and in the hoop and The Raptor mascot missed not one, but two trampoline dunks.

GOING BONKERS

Chris Bosh and Aaron Gray cracked heads when CB4 drove to the net in the second quarter, with the respective team doctors called in. Gray went to the locker room for a bit, while a dazed Bosh missed the first of two free throws, then sank a field goal for his 7,777th career point.

ROSE IS A ROSE

Derrick Rose scored 25 points and had 10 assists. It was the sixth double-double this season for the rookie, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft.

BOXSCORE

FG FT Reb

CHICAGO Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Deng 39:27 5-11 6-6 5-14 4 1 16

Thomas 21:32 3-8 0-0 2-5 4 4 6

Noah 17:12 4-5 0-0 1-3 2 3 8

Rose 38:18 12-18 1-1 2-2 10 0 25

Gordon 37:24 4-13 0-0 1-4 2 2 10

Hinrich 32:33 3-6 3-4 1-5 6 3 12

Gray 9:09 0-2 0-0 0-2 1 3 0

Nocioni 30:52 5-13 3-4 0-4 3 4 16

Sefolosha 13:33 4-6 0-0 0-2 1 1 9

Totals 240:00 40-82 13-15 12-41 33 21 102

Percentages: FG .488, FT .867.

3-Point Goals: 9-25, .360 (Hinrich 3-6, Nocioni 3-7, Gordon 2-9, Sefolosha 1-2, Rose 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 13 (11 PTS).

Blocked Shots: 2 (Noah, Nocioni).

Turnovers: 12 (Gordon 4, Deng 3, Hinrich 2, Gray, Nocioni, Rose).

Steals: 3 (Deng, Gordon, Thomas).

Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

TORONTO Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Moon 34:07 3-9 5-5 0-5 1 2 11

Bosh 36:14 8-18 9-11 1-5 4 4 25

Bargnani 39:35 10-14 9-10 3-10 1 0 31

Solomon 25:57 2-6 0-0 0-2 7 5 5

Parker 38:59 7-11 0-0 1-6 4 1 15

Graham 11:54 0-1 0-0 0-2 0 2 0

Humphries 5:47 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 0

Ukic 22:46 2-7 0-0 0-1 2 1 4

Kapono 21:59 3-6 0-0 0-0 0 2 7

Voskuhl 2:42 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Totals 240:00 35-74 23-26 5-31 20 19 98

Percentages: FG .473, FT .885.

3-Point Goals: 5-13, .385 (Bargnani 2-4, Kapono 1-2, Parker 1-2, Solomon 1-2, Ukic 0-1, Moon 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 10 (7 PTS).

Blocked Shots: 3 (Bosh, Graham, Moon).

Turnovers: 10 (Bargnani 3, Graham 2, Parker 2, Moon, Solomon, Voskuhl).

Steals: 9 (Bosh 2, Solomon 2, Ukic 2, Bargnani, Moon, Parker).

Technical Fouls: None.

Chicago 27 20 21 34-- 102

Toronto 18 30 23 27-- 98

Att. at the ACC--18,494 (19,800). T--2:25.

Officials--Derrick Stafford, Pat Fraher, Olandis Poole.

AP-NY-01-14-09 2204EST

FG FT Reb

PHILA. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Iguodala 39:39 8-16 5-8 2-8 2 3 23

Technical Fouls: None.

Philadelphia 22 28 17 30 -- 97

Toronto 24 34 23 25 -- 106

Att. at the Air Canada Centre --19,800 (19,800).

Boston 00 18 14 27 24-- 83

San Antonio 00 18 15 24 18-- 75

Att. at San Antonio -- 17,078 (18,729). T--2:13.

Officials--Tom Washington, Jason Phillips, Sean Corbin.

NEXT UP

Tomorrow, 7 p.m., at Indianapolis Pacers, TSN, Fan 590.


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