Toronto Raptors the last time they saw the Atlanta Hawks the would get soundly beaten. They would have to try to that without Jermaine O'Neal. They almost had to do it without Chris Bosh as well. Why? Seems that even an NBA All-Star can get stuck in an elevator. So some repair man in Toronto could be the M.V.P for the Raptors tonight for getting the star player to the arena in time to make the tip. The Hawks were hoping to have Josh Smith back who has been out since he left the game vs the Raptors early in the season. But he was not going to go. So with everyone present and accounted for it was time to play some basketball at the A.C.C.
So with no J.O the Raptors would go with Jamario Moon again in the starting line-up. I admit it would not have shocked me to see Joey Graham in the starting line-up. But that was not the case. The Hawks would control the tip and Mike Bibby who killed the Raptors in the last game would miss his first shot. Moon would score on the other end. Raptors never lead the last time they played Atlanta. Jose Calderon would hook up Bosh and he would get sent to the line. He would make 1-2 and Raptors were off to a 5-2 start. Both teams were looking a bit chilly. But Mike Bibby after missing his first had a two pointer and now hit a 3-ball followed by another 2 pointer. A quick 7 for Bibby and a 9-5 lead for Atlanta. Anthony Parker who had a bucket early would hit a 3 pointer to cut the lead to just 1.
Andrea Bargnani was having a slow start till the lane opened for him for a drive and jam the Raptors still were down 11-10. Chris Bosh would respond to an Atlanta score with a basket and a foul shot to come with a chance to tie it up. He would hit the shot all even at 13-13. Anthony Parker had his second steal early on and that like the first would lead to points for Andrea Bargnani to make a 3-pointer. Andrea would miss on anther long attempt but on the third time he go the ball in a short span he would drive and score. Raptors had a 18-15 lead. Atlanta would close to with in one again only to see Chris Bosh score and make the lead back to 3 points at 20-17. Chris Bosh has said he wants to be the M.V.P and tonight he was dropping dimes along with buckets. He had 4 assists early on making his team come along for the ride. Jose Calderon had a open 3-pointer that would have given Chris assist number 5 but he missed it. Jamario Moon would hit a jumper for that assist number 5 for Chris Bosh. Raptors were still in a close battle despite all of that. Jose Calderon would make a basket to make it 24-21 Toronto. Atlanta would turn it over and a last second chuck by Joey G would not fall. So the score remained 24-21 Raptors after 1 quarter.
Jose Calderon would start the second with a nice media range jumper. Jason Kapono would score and Joey Graham scored too. the Raptors had a 6-0 run to start the quarter. Raptors had a 30-21 lead on the Hawks. I don't want to say it but could it be that Joey Graham has finally got it? He scored and got fouled and made that. Chris Bosh would return to see his team up by 10 with the score 33-23. Jason Kapono is actually taking and making shots. The Raptors were getting a lot of solid efforts from a lot of folks. Chris Bosh would think a long time about taking a 3 pointer he would but would miss. Evans on the other would not wait a second to take and make his 3-point effort. The Hawks were starting to fight back and a Marvin Williams jumper cut the lead down to just 4 points. That was enough for Sam Mitchell to look to regroup with a time out.
Chris Bosh out of the time out would pass out of double and get it back from Jose and score. He would than combine with Jose for a highlight worth alley-opp. Seems that Sam Mtichell message was pass the ball to Chris. That is always a wise move. Jamario Moon maybe feeling the Joey G heat on his heels? Whatever the reason he was taking and making a couple nice jump shots. The Raptors and Hawks were having a good little battle with the Raptors up 43-39. Joe Johnson who had been quiet had a score and a steal that would lead to a score for a team mate. We were all tied at 43. While Joe was getting going Joey was cooling off. He would miss and Atlanta would come down the other end and Mike Bibby would hit a open 3 ball in transition. Bibby would get another chance to score as he was fouled on a break to the basket. His 5 points were the margin for his Hawks up 48-43. Jason Kapono would respond with a 3-pointer for the Raptors. The hawks would get one more basket before the time expired. The Raptors had seen the lead slip away down the stretch. Hawks had a 50-46 lead thanks to the late push to close the half.
Chris Bosh would get the first touch of the second half and make it count he has 12 so far. Hawks would answer and both teams were trading baskets early. Chris Bosh would score and get to the line and hit. Raptors were within 1 now early in the 3rd quarter. But a key second chance for the Hawks and Bibby would make a 3-ball of the offensive rebound. But Chris Bosh did not care he had another basket and 7 in the quarter. He was trying to keep the Raptor alive on his own again. Atlanta was getting some key second chances but this time they could not get it. However beyond Bosh nobody was making buckets. Andrea Bargnani picked up his 4th foul on the evening but would remain in the game for now. The Raptors with no J.O were very thin in the front court.
Mike Bibby was killing the Raptors again as he had 20 points on 7-9 shooting. Hawks had a 59-57 lead that Bibby was a big part of. A.P would make a jumper to help the cause. Hawks were beating the Raptors on the glass and that was helping as well. A rare Bibby miss and a chance to pull even for the Raptors. But it would not happen as Raptors got tagged for a 3 second violation. A.P would draw a charge to give the Raptors and give Raps a second chance. But Bosh would get called for an offensive foul on the other end. Al Horford would extend the lead back to 4 points. Jose Calderon would miss a shot he had hit the floor earlier and was possibly a bit banged up. Well a bit more banged up is more accurate. Chris Bosh would score though and he once again was allowing the Raptors to hang around. If not for Bosh this game may be a blow out. Thank you Mr. Elevator Repair Man. Hawks, despite looking like the better team were just up 61-59.
Joe Johnson would score on the runner. But Chris Bosh was more than happy to answer with a jumper of his own. Hawks again scored and it was again Chris Bosh with the answer. It really is amazing how good Bosh has been this year. If people could just step up and help this team could be good. Will Solomon was checking in for Jose. He has been little used of late. He would jack up a shot and do nothing to lose his Mike James tag. Next time the Raptors would get the ball to bosh who found Kapono for a 3-ball. Bosh would score again and he had 15 in the quarter and the Raptors had the lead back. Will Solomon made a good defensive play leading to a turnover for the Hawks. It would end up with Kris Humphries on the line looking to extend the Raptor lead. He would make both. Just like the Raptors faded in the second the Hawks did the same in the 3rd quarter. The Toronto Raptors lead 69-65.
Chris Bosh may have showed up late for work but he sure was making up for that with his performance on the floor. Sam Mitchell may just tell him to show up late every night if he kept this up. But late or early, Chris Bosh had been just out of this world all year long. The star of the show had a block to start the 4th. It would lead to Kris Humphries getting a basket on the other end. Bosh would than get a score and the Raptors had 12-0 run going and lead 73-65.
Joe Johnson would break the run out of the time out. Joey Graham back on track with a basket a steal and a dunk? Wow that is a dose of "Good Joey" in a major way. The Raptors had a 10 point lead to defend. The Hawks would get a 3 pointer and cut it back down to 7 points. The Joey Graham show was back on track he had another dunk on an offensive rebound. A historic moment at the A.C.C... a Joey chant. I admit it I really don't want to believe but I think I am starting to believe. Raptors lead was 83-74. Marvin Williams would get a basket and the Hawks had scored a couple straight buckets and lead was trimmed to 5 points.
Bosh to this point he had 27 points and 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Both teams were cold and the next basket would be key. Jason Kapono would make that basket with another 3 pointer for him. Chris Bosh would continue to answer the call with a basket plus a foul and would be heading to the line with a chance to get 30 on the night. But more important to him extend the Raptor lead to 9 points. he made it and Raptor lead 89-80 with under 4 minutes to play. Evans got a basket after a Bargnani turnover and the lead was down to 7. Another failed Raptor trip Hawks score and the lead was down to 5 points.
Hawks had a chance to get even closer with under 2 minute to play. Evans got a open look from 3 but could not connect. But Raptor miss again and Mike Bibby scored. Jose would answer with drive and score only to see Bibby do the same. Raptors would than almost have another turnover with :38 but would get 1 second added to the shot clock. A time out to figure out how they can get something to the basket quickly to avoid a turnover. Turns out it was a shot clock violation after all. Hawks had a chance to tie with a 3-ball. they would go for a two point effort and fitting that Chris Bosh would get the key rebound. Just 16 seconds to play and the Raptors would be heading to the foul line for some very important free throws. Raptors were able to inbound this time. Jason Kapono was the guy on the line. He made the critical first shot. and he made the second. A long 3 ball did not fall and this game was done as the Raptors would dribble it out for a key win before a brutal road trip. So the Raptors have won 2 in a row thanks to a 93-88 win. The chances of making it 3 in a row would be very tough as they play the Lakers. But let's enjoy this win and leave worrying about that till Sunday. Another M.V.P type night for the man in the 4 Jersey. Hang it in the rafters now because Bosh is that good. How good? check the boxscore