The Toronto Raptors are coming off their best January since 2001-02. That's also the last time they had a winning record this late in a season.

Starting February with another victory would do just that for the Raptors as they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

The Raptors (23-23) finished January with a 10-5 record, their most wins for the month since 2001-02 when they went 11-5. The team finished 42-40 that season, the last time it was above .500 this deep into a season.

Toronto hasn't been above the break-even mark at any point since being 4-3 in 2004-05.

The team benefited recently from a lengthy stretch at home, playing 10 of January's contests at home, including six of the last seven.

The return of Chris Bosh from a knee injury that kept him sidelined the final 12 games of December also helped. He scored 34 points in Toronto's 119-109 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, going 15-of-15 from the floor after missing his first four shots.

"You know, it's the first time and there's a first time for everything," Bosh said when asked if had ever been in that kind of zone. "I'm kind of addicted to that feeling now so I hope every game goes like that somehow."

Bosh, whose impressive performance included a 56-foot heave at the end of the third quarter, is averaging 25.4 points since returning.

He isn't the only one whose numbers have improved. Jose Calderon, averaging 8.5 points and 4.7 assists this season, has started the past five games for the injured T.J. Ford and has averaged 16.2 points and 9.6 assists.

Ford returned Wednesday, but asked coach Sam Mitchell to start Calderon instead of himself because he knew his minutes would be limited due to ongoing soreness in his right ankle. Calderon came through with a career-high 24 points and 11 assists as Toronto knocked off the Eastern Conference-leading Wizards.

"We need everybody and it's like a family here," Calderon said. "It doesn't matter who starts and who doesn't start, we have to win. ... Nobody is talking about who's playing or who's not."

With the win, Toronto took over sole possession of the Atlantic Division lead, moving one game ahead of second-place New Jersey.

"I'm having a blast," Bosh said. "This is the most fun I've had since I've been here."

The Raptors have won eight of their last 11 trips to Atlanta, but lost 97-93 on Nov. 24 in their only visit this season. The Hawks had won three straight overall in this series before losing 105-92 at Toronto on Jan. 5 in the most recent meeting.

The Hawks (17-27) won their second straight and fourth in five games with a 115-94 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

Atlanta tied a season high with 11 3-pointers, in 27 attempts, and had five players score in double figures. Joe Johnson scored a game-high 33 points and Josh Childress added 23 off the bench.

That victory kept the Hawks a half-game ahead of Charlotte for last place in the Southeast Division, and gave them an 8-7 record for January. It's their first winning month since a 4-3 mark in April 2004, and the first time the team has won at least eight games in a month since going 9-7 in March 2002.

"It's nice to see," coach Mike Woodson said. "We've still got a long ways to go, though. We'll take 8-7 considering where we've been. We've just got to keep working to make February even better."


Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited