TORONTO (AP)—The Toronto Raptors began the day in last place in the Atlanta Division. They could be atop the NBA’s worst division by Saturday night.
Bosh had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Raptors to a 106-102 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.
T.J. Ford had 13 assists and 10 points for the Raptors (6-10). A win over New York on Saturday night and a New Jersey loss to Philadelphia would give Toronto first.
“We have to take advantage of the position we are in right now. A lot of people look at the Atlantic division and put labels and tags on it, but it’s early in the season,” Bosh said. “We just have to try to separate ourselves from the rest.”
Toronto is 5-2 at home, but only 1-8 on the road.
The Raptors travel to Cleveland and Chicago after New York.
“We have to take advantage of this stretch against the East before we head out west again. We got to get as close to .500 as we can,” Ford said.
Toronto shot a season-high 55 percent to Boston’s 52 percent in a game that was close throughout.
Paul Pierce had 19 points and nine assists for the Celtics, who have lost four of five.
Pierce had his right elbow iced after the game. He hurt it crashing to the floor in the second half.
“It is sore and has swelled up,” Pierce said. “I fell right on it and it is a little sore right now. I will give it a couple of days rest and see how it feels. I will have the doctor look at it tomorrow.”
Pierce said they lack mental toughness on defense.
“When one guy breaks down it hurts the whole defense. When we allow 55 percent I think that’s just all mental toughness right there,” Pierce said.
Bosh has been slowed recently by a sore left knee, but he finished 9-for-15 from the field and blocked three shots.
“(Brian) Scalabrine was the only guy on our team that could guard Chris Bosh, I mean that’s a joke,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “Bosh is a great player, and I’m not taking anything away from him, I’m just saying, someone else on our team besides the smallest big should be able to guard him.”
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell started Joey Graham instead of Fred Jones, who went scoreless in Dallas on Wednesday. Graham didn’t start the second half, though. Jorge Garbajosa slid over to small forward from center and Rasho Nesterovic played center.
Graham finished with eight points, while Jones had just three.
Pierce had only three points in the first half and Toronto led 58-51 at halftime. Toronto outscored Boston 28-19 in the second quarter. Anthony Parker had 10 of his 17 points in the quarter.
The Raptors play five of the next six away from home.
Toronto beat Boston for just the third time in their last 12 games. … Andrea Bargnani, the top overall pick in the draft, has scored in double figures in five of his last seven games. Bargnani had 11 points, but went 4-for-13 from the field. … Raptors swingman Morris Peterson missed his sixth straight game with a torn tendon in his left elbow.