TORONTO (NBA.com exclusive) -- As the game clock ticked down towards two minutes remaining, Chris Bosh clenched his fists, flexed his arms, let out a scream and then smiled.
Finally, after all of the talk of rebounding, hustle and effort, his team had responded.
After allowing the Chicago Bulls to explode for 60 first-half points, the Toronto Raptors held the Bulls to just 29 second-half points and used a 14-1 run over the final 6:24 minutes to pull away for a 99-89 win at home on Wednesday.
While Bosh was as steady as he has been all season for the Raptors, finishing with 28 points and 11 rebounds, the story in this game was the effort of his teammates in the final 24 minutes of the game.
After a first half with little to celebrate, coach Jay Triano didn't have to say much to his team.
"Coach only said three things at half. [The Bulls] put 60 points on the board. I think that said enough," said reserve Antoine Wright, who had a key role in the victory, guarding Derrick Rose down the stretch.
"Enough is enough. Guys just have to take the challenge of keeping their man in front of them," Wright continued. "We're all NBA players, we're all athletic enough to be able to move our feet and communicate."
About the first half, Triano said simply, "We were embarrassed."
They had also allowed a Bulls team that had played the night before to shoot 52 percent from the floor and outrebound them by 10 in those opening 24 minutes.
Shortly before the half, Wright said Bosh came over to his teammates in a timeout and told them not to be fooled by the close score and that they would need a better effort to win the game.
"I just felt it was kind of fool's gold that we were going for at the time. We were still high-fiving and that's cool, but we had a few straight possessions where we didn't do our coverages and we left Andrea [Bargnani, 16 points] out to dry with only one guard," Bosh said. "It wasn't a good series of events but we still got two points. I just wanted everybody to realize that it wasn't good. Don't be fooled by that, don't think we were doing good because we were not. If we want to win this game we're going to have to be a lot better."
The combination of Bosh's message with Triano's halftime "speech" worked.
Momentum swung in the Raptors favor in the third quarter thanks to the hustle plays and energy brought by Wright, Amir Johnson and rookie DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan finished with nine points, nine boards and two blocks in his 18 minutes of play, prompting praise from his coach and teammates. He also attacked the basket from the baseline for a dunk that seemed to awaken the crowd before the Raptors made their push.
Johnson came into the game and brought the same energy that he always does, but was able to do it without fouling, his personal Achilles' heel.
Wright not only guarded Rose down the stretch, he had one of the most memorable plays of the game as the momentum was shifting in Toronto's favor.
With the Raptors trailing 78-77 with 7.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Wright sprinted the length of the court, exploding into the air to block John Salmons' shot from behind with two hands. The message he imparted was clear: This victory will not be as easy as it may have appeared.
In the fourth, the Bulls fell apart.
After shooting 47.8 percent through three quarters, Chicago's field goal percentage plummeted to 14.3 percent and were scoreless from the floor over the final 9:21 minutes of the game as the Raptors forced the Bulls into jumpers that would no longer fall.
"There wasn't any room to drive. They made it real clear that they wanted us shooting jump shots," Rose said. "It is real frustrating knowing that we had the game. We started off well, played defense and to have to lose by not making shots towards the end kind of hurt."
Hedo Turkoglu added 11 points for the Raptors while Jose Calderon scored 18 to go with six assists. Overshadowed in the loss was rookie (and DeRozan's former USC teammate) Taj Gibson's career-high 18 points. Rose finished with 14 points and six assists while Luol Deng added 18. Joakim Noah had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double before fouling out.
When Bosh was asked about his show of emotion at the end of the game, he smiled.
"First I'm happy to get the two points and the rebound. I'm happy to get the lead and I know that people feed off that kind of energy. I just wanted to show something. I think people like it and I like it, too. It's fun."