Charlotte (21-55) at Toronto (26-50)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 3:30 pm EDT Sun Apr 9, 2006
  • TV: SCOR
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Facing the Charlotte Bobcats could come at the right time for the Toronto Raptors.

Toronto tries to end a seven-game losing streak and sweep the season series from Charlotte as the teams meet at the Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors are coming off a 95-89 road loss Friday to the New Orleans Hornets and have not won since a 97-77 victory March 24 over Minnesota. It is their longest skid since opening the season 0-9, and after Sunday, four of Toronto’s final five games are against teams currently occupying playoff positions.

Mike James scored 36 points—two short of his career high—and Charlie Villanueva added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors. Despite playing for the third time in four nights, the Raptors showed some energy with a late rally.

Andre Barrett, a 5-foot-10 guard who spent most of this season in the NBDL, made a follow shot to pull the Raptors as close as 92-89 with 48 seconds left.

“It’s tough,” James said. “Being the end of the season, guys are banged up and the only motivation we have is our pride.”

Chris Bosh, the Raptors leading scorer and rebounder, is out for the season with a sprained left thumb.

Charlotte has three more wins than its inaugural season. The Bobcats have lost six of their last eight games after a 113-102 defeat Thursday to the New Jersey Nets.

Rookie Raymond Felton had 20 points and seven assists, and Primoz Brezec added 16 points for Charlotte, which shot just 40 percent (34-of-85) and allowed Richard Jefferson to score a season-high 40 points.

“We were staying in the game, but when (Jefferson) got hot, he spread the lead,” Felton said. “They took it up to 15 and 18. We’d cut it back down but he’d come down and hit two big 3s. He had it going tonight. We had no answer for him. We played great defense and he still was hitting it.”

Felton, the fifth overall pick in the draft, is averaging 20.0 points and 7.8 assists in his last five games.

STANDINGS (Through April 7): Bobcats - 5th place, 28 1/2 GB, Southeast Division. Raptors - 4th place, 21 GB, Atlantic Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Bobcats - F Gerald Wallace, F Jumaine Jones, C Brezec, G Brevin Knight, G Felton. Raptors - F Villanueva, F Joey Graham, C Pape Sow, G Morris Peterson, G James.

TEAM LEADERS: Bobcats - Wallace, 15.5 ppg and 7.3 rpg; Knight, 8.8 apg. Raptors - Bosh, 22.5 ppg and 9.2 rpg; James, 5.8 apg.

SEASON SERIES: Raptors, 3-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 10; Raptors, 88-73. At Charlotte, N.C., Villanueva scored 24 points, and Bosh added 16 and 10 rebounds as the Raptors opened the third quarter with a 20-2 run and stopped Charlotte’s three-game winning streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bobcats - 6-32 on the road; Raptorts - 14-24 at home.

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