Toronto 89, Atlanta 78

TORONTO (AP) - Hobbled by injuries early in the season, Chris Bosh is back at full strength and playing what he considers to be the best basketball of his career.

Bosh had 35 points and nine rebounds, Anthony Parker added 18 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Atlanta Hawks 89-78 on Friday night for their fifth win in six games.

Bosh, who had 13 points in the fourth quarter, has scored at least 30 in four of Toronto's past five games.

"He just feels that if he can get the ball right now, he is going to score,'' Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said.

Bosh, who missed five games with a strained groin between Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, had to withdraw from the U.S. team at last summer's FIBA Americas tournament because of lingering pain from a left foot injury. Later, a swollen knee forced him to sit out most of the preseason.

Now that he's pain-free, Bosh is full of confidence.

"Everything is just opening up for me,'' Bosh said. "I'm finally at 100 percent. It's been a tough stretch for me but I just kept playing and kept pushing through it.

"I don't feel I'm taking many bad shots,'' Bosh added. "I'm getting off the double team really fast and I'm finding a lot of my teammates and putting them in good positions.''

Parker, who made four of the Raptors' five 3-pointers, said Bosh's recent run is opening up the floor for Toronto's outside shooters.

"It's off of Chris because he commands so much attention in double teams,'' Parker said.

Joe Johnson had 25 points for the Hawks, who lost back-to-back games for the first time since a four-game slide between Dec. 29 and Jan. 5.

Atlanta's Josh Smith had 20 points in the first half but was held in check after the break, finishing with 24 points and nine rebounds.

"I don't know what happened,'' Smith said. "You just have to go with what the coach calls and the calls weren't for me. It's nothing for me to be mad at. I just have to get it somewhere else, whether it's off the rebound or running the lanes.''

Atlanta is 5-11 on the road and has lost five straight away from home.

"We're going to have to figure out the road,'' Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We're playing pretty good basketball at home. We're talking about making the playoffs and we're still right in the hunt, where we need to be. We've got to start winning some games on the road.''

It was the first meeting between the teams since Hawks rookie Al Horford knocked Toronto guard T.J. Ford to the floor in a Dec. 11 game in Atlanta. Ford, who was taken off on a stretcher, suffered a stinger and has not played since.

Horford, who visited Ford in hospital after the incident, was booed whenever he touched the ball Friday but didn't let it bother him.

"I've definitely put that in my past,'' Horford said. "I made peace with T.J. and everyone. Tonight was about me coming out here and playing a basketball game and just doing that. I can't let anything outside affect my game.''

There was almost more bad blood in this one when Atlanta guard Anthony Johnson was ejected after elbowing Toronto's Jose Calderon in the back of the head with 41 seconds left in the first half.

Johnson was assessed a flagrant two foul, which comes with an automatic ejection.

"I don't know what actually happened,'' Woodson said. "I didn't really talk to (Johnson) about it. Obviously he and Calderon had some kind of confrontation. I don't know how it started. He did throw an elbow and he was ejected from the game.''

Joe Johnson called it a costly ejection.

"It was big because of the way we switch things on defense,'' he said. "He's a big guard and he can guard those guys.''

Calderon clutched the back of his head after taking the hit but remained in the game and made both technical free throws.

"I didn't see the play,'' said Calderon, who finished with 13 points and nine assists. "I don't know what happened. Somebody hit me on the head. I didn't know if it was him or another guy. I'm cool, there's no problem.''

Marvin Williams had 13 points and nine rebounds for Atlanta.

Toronto led 44-39 at the half but fell behind when Atlanta opened the third with a 13-2 run, with Horford scoring six points and Joe Johnson capping the spurt with a 3-pointer.

The Raptors fought back and tied the game at 56 on Parker's 3-pointer with 4:41 left, then got two more 3s from Parker to take a 67-60 lead after three quarters.

Smith had 16 points in the first but Atlanta trailed 27-22 after 12 minutes.

Notes: Ford was cleared to resume workouts Jan. 9. No timetable has been set for his return. Toronto is 9-8 since Ford's injury. ... The Raptors have won four straight at home, matching a season high.


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