ATLANTA (AP)—A short pep talk with his former college coach helped boost Chris Bosh’s spirits.
“Just stay positive, that’s my biggest thing,” Bosh said of his conversation with Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt. “No matter what happens, just stay positive. The minute you start forcing things, that’s when you shoot yourself in the foot.”
Toronto, 16-5 when Bosh scores at least 20 points, took the lead for good when Morris Peterson’s 3-pointer made it 100-99 with 3:40 remaining.
With 11 rebounds, Bosh has 33 boards over his last two games. The second-year forward, who entered the NBA draft after just one season at Georgia Tech, also scored 22 points the night before at Philadelphia, but the Raptors suffered a two-point loss.
“I had a good game last night, and it just didn’t pay off,” Bosh said. “To have a good game and win at the same time is a double good bonus.”
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak on the road for the Raptors, who improved to just 8-27 away from the Air Canada Centre.
“We talk al the time about getting off to a good start,” Rose said. “I’m pretty sure every team in the league does. You’ve got to find a way to get it when it counts. Fortunately for us, we were able to get it in the fourth quarter when things were crucial.”
Atlanta, an NBA-worst 11-58, has lost eight straight games since winning in overtime at Toronto on March 11. That victory snapped a 23-game road losing streak and 13 consecutive defeats overall for the Hawks, who have dropped 21 of their last 22.
“I try to tell people, ‘Don’t look at records,”’ Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. “Everybody’s playing for something. Whether it’s the playoffs, respectability or jobs. Everybody’s got something that’s important to them.”
Toronto held Atlanta to just one field goal in the final 4 minutes.
Rose gave the Raptors an 83-82 lead with a 3-pointer from the right corner at the 10:27 mark of the fourth quarter. After Tom Gugliotta committed the ninth of Atlanta’s 12 turnovers, Bosh answered with a dunk 36 seconds later to make it 85-82.
“Chris Bosh led us,” Rose said. “He was the man down low. We feed off him. There are a lot of expectations on him.”
The Hawks never led after Al Harrington’s 14-footer put them ahead 97-95. Reserve guard Tony Delk scored a team-high 21 points for Atlanta. Rookie starters Josh Smith and Josh Childress each had 19 points.
“There are some wonderful signs of us playing well in spurts,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “We have to start looking into getting pieces to add to this ballclub.”
Peterson, who finished with 14 points, hit a 3-pointer with 6:17 left in the third quarter to give the Raptors their first lead since Bosh’s layup made it 7-6.
Bosh impressed Mitchell with his aggressiveness.
“I just want him to be aggressive and attack the basket as much as possible,” Mitchell said. “When he does that, it opens up that 14- 15-foot shot and tonight he was making them. He can get past most people if you crowd him.”
Raptors F Donyell Marshall, whose .423 percentage on 3-point attempts ranks No. 8 in the NBA, went to the locker room for treatment on his back in the first quarter and didn’t return. He played only 4 minutes. … Bosh was two points short of tying his career high, set in a March 6 victory in New Orleans. … Hewitt sat in the second row of seats across from the Atlanta bench. … Toronto outscored the Hawks 34-17 at the free throw line. Rose was 11-for-18.