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Big Second Half Lifts Raptors Over Clippers At ACC

Related: Box Score | Photos | Game Rap: Raptors Crank It Up Late To Cut Down Clippers
Video: Game In Six | Triano | Bosh | Calderon | Bargnani | Weems
More Video: Jack's No-Look To Weems | Wright's Buzzer Beater
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March 31, 2010

TORONTO (CP) -- The Toronto Raptors were a lively bunch Wednesday, whooping it up after laying a beating on the lowly Los Angeles Clippers.

Chris Bosh scored 15 of his game-high 34 points in the third quarter as Toronto strengthened its post-season chances with a 114-92 win over the Clippers.

Bosh gave Los Angeles fits all game long, shooting 12-for-17 from the field and 10-for-13 from the free-throw line as the Raptors (37-37) won their second straight game. Bosh added 11 rebounds in the victory, which moved Toronto a full two games ahead of the idle Chicago Bulls for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Afterward, Bosh -- who engaged in some playful post-game shouting with guards Antoine Wright and Jarrett Jack -- credited his team with playing a playoff-calibre second half after coming out flat in the opening 24 minutes.

``We know what we needed to do,'' said Bosh, who recorded his 47th double-double of the season. ``We started out the game like we didn't want to, and we knew that we had to make adjustments and play the second half correctly.

``There wasn't much said (between halves)...we just addressed the problems and we came out and provided more of a spark for ourselves.''

Raptors head coach Jay Triano said his players showed tremendous late energy in a game that looked like it might slip away in front of 16,106 at the Air Canada Centre.

``The group that we had in there in the third and the start of the fourth quarter got us good energy,'' said Triano. ``It's amazing. The good energy at the defensive end translates into steals and blocks. And when you have more steals and blocks than turnovers, you're having a really good game.''

Andrea Bargnani added 21 points and Sonny Weems 17 for Toronto, which avoided its first four-game home losing streak since December 2008. Hedo Turkoglu had six points and six assists in his second game since being relegated to the bench.

Weems, who replaced Turkoglu in the starting lineup, has impressed Triano and teammates alike with his tireless play at both ends of the court _ so much so that the second-year forward is now a fixture in the rotation.

Bosh has been impressed with Weems's transformation from benchwarmer to starter.

``Sonny, he's going to play defence (and) he's going to be in the right place at the right time,'' said Bosh. ``He runs in the open court and he gets some easy buckets. He's good for us in transition.''

Weems, who went 8-for-8 from the field Wednesday, is savouring his success.

``Every day I wake up and try to thank God every morning for putting me in this position,'' said Weems. ``Last year I didn't play at all. Now I (have) the opportunity to play to get a chance to play, and show my talent.''

Chris Kaman led the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers (27-48), who have lost 15 of their past 18 games. Rasual Butler and Drew Gooden added 17 points apiece for Los Angeles, while Steve Blake had a game-high 12 assists.

Playing their second game in as many nights -- and having to do so without injured point guard Baron Davis -- the Clippers simply couldn't match the energy of the Raptors, who had a rest day following Monday's 103-101 victory in Charlotte.

Toronto shot 61 per cent in the game and outscored Los Angeles 66-39 after halftime to sweep the season series.

``They stretched us out a little bit more,'' said Kaman. ``We just didn't have it in the second half. We just ran out of gas.''

Clippers head coach Kim Hughes cited Weems's hot shooting as one of the game's turning points.

``I'm not sure that Weems will make 8-for-8 again,'' said Hughes. ``He shot and played very well.''

Trailing by five following a lacklustre opening half, the Raptors pulled ahead on a Bosh 15-foot jumper early in the third. He added a 17-footer and a layup on Toronto's next two possessions to spark a 14-4 run, putting the Raptors up 62-57.

The teams traded leads over the next five minutes before Bosh caught fire again, hitting back-to-back layups and adding three late free throws to give the Raptors an 81-75 edge entering the fourth.

Weems hit back-to-back baskets, the second on a nifty give-and-go with Jarrett Jack, and Bosh followed with a sensational short jumper in traffic, converting the three-point play as Toronto wasn't threatened the rest of the way.

The Raptors were outrebounded 41-39 but finished with 30 assists, three short of their season high.

Bosh's 10 first-quarter points lifted Toronto to a 31-28 advantage after one, but Los Angeles responded with three straight three-pointers to take its first lead early in the second. Rasual Butler finished with nine points in the quarter, and the Clippers went into the break with a 53-48 advantage. Notes: Jack was held without a point but dished out a team-high 10 assists. ... The Raptors committed just three fouls in the first half. ... Davis missed his second straight game with back spasms. ... The victory improved Toronto's record against the Clippers to 17-11 all-time, equalling its best mark against a Western Conference opponent. The Raptors are also 17-11 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. ... The Raptors' two-day break prior to Saturday's game in Philadelphia is the longest they'll enjoy the rest of the way. Toronto plays its final eight games over the final 12 days of the season, a gruelling stretch that includes three back-to-backs.