Raptors 123, Wizards 118, OT

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Chris Bosh had a huge start and an even bigger finish.

Bosh scored eight of his 37 points in overtime, and the Toronto Raptors remained in the third spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 123-118 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

The Wizards appeared to have a victory secured until Michael Ruffin’s celebratory heave toward the rafters landed in the hands of Raptors guard Morris Peterson, whose 3-pointer from 31 feet tied the score at 109 as the horn sounded ending regulation.

“I was hoping it went in, and, shoot, it went in,” Bosh said of Peterson’s desperation heave. “After that, I was just concentrating on winning the game.”

Ruffin intercepted Anthony Parker’s inbounds pass from underneath the Wizards’ basket near midcourt and flung the ball high into the air with 1.1 seconds left.

“It was just a natural reaction to throw it in the air,” Ruffin said. “I was thinking the time would run out. I guess there ended up being more time than I expected, and I didn’t have a good hold on the ball. I threw it off my palm.”

Peterson attempted his game-tying shot with .02 of a second left.

“When I saw (Ruffin) tip it, I looked and I saw I had a chance to get it and it turned out the ball just came to me,” said Peterson, who played only the final 4.4 seconds of regulation and the last 47 seconds of overtime. “I looked at the clock real quick and there was like one second, and I just threw it up. Thankfully it went in, gave us another chance—gave us another win, and I’ll take it.”

Bosh, who made nine of his first 11 shots and had 21 points in the first half, managed only eight points in the second half. He shot 4-for-5 in overtime and blocked Gilbert Arenas’ layup attempt with 3 seconds left. Bosh also had 14 rebounds and five assists.

Asked if he had ever seen such an unusual ending to a game, Bosh replied: “Nah, not really, just on TV. But we were on the receiving end today and it gave us a little bit more time to capitalize.”

“Just wild stuff,” Bosh said when asked how he could describe the ending. “I don’t know, man, you’ve got to go to the libraries on that one. I took Mo’s shot as a second chance for us. When stuff happens like that, you’ve got to win.

“You have to try your best and play as hard as you can because the basketball gods were looking out for us.”

Arenas led the Wizards with 34 points and seven assists. His 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining gave the Wizards a 102-99 lead they did not relinquish until Peterson’s desperation heave.

“It was like watching an NCAA tournament game, and it felt like one,” Arenas said. “It’s hard to lose one like that.”

The victory was Toronto’s first in its past seven games in Washington.

DeShawn Stevenson’s 3-pointer gave the Wizards their last lead at 112-111 with 4:05 remaining in overtime.

Bosh responded with a jumper, a tip-in and two hook shots.

Juan Dixon and Anthony Parker both made two free throws to secure Toronto’s second straight victory.

Kris Humphries’ 3-pointer from the corner tied it at 97 with 1:55 left in regulation. After Arenas made two free throws, T.J. Ford tied it again at 99.

Ford finished with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds. Joey Graham had a career-high 12 rebounds.

Caron Butler had 17 points and seven rebounds for Washington. Stevenson had a season-high 10 rebounds.

Butler’s free throw gave Washington a 64-63 lead early in the third quarter, marking the first time the Wizards led since 7-5. Stevenson’s three-point play capped an 11-0 run that gave Washington a 69-63 lead.

Graham’s 3-pointer capped a 10-4 run that gave Toronto a 43-30 lead with 8:49 remaining in the second quarter. At that point, the Raptors were shooting 66.7 percent.

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan then turned to his bench and got a lift from Jarvis Hayes, Antonio Daniels and Darius Songaila. The trio shot a combined 7-for-8 from the field and 4-for-4 at the free-throw line during a 20-10 run that pulled Washington to 53-50 on Hayes’ steal and layup.

The surge also gave the Wizards starters enough rest to make a run of their own in the third.

“Earlier, we were winning a lot of close games at the buzzer,” Ruffin said. “Lately, we’ve been coming up on the short end with different mistakes. Giving up offensive rebounds, throwing the ball up in the air and having it go to the other team. All you can do is get stronger from it, build on it, and try to come out better the next time.” ^@Notes: Wizards center Calvin Booth went to the locker room with a dislocated left index finger with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter. He returned to the bench and was available but did not re-enter the game. … Toronto holds a 23-22 lead in the series between the teams.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Toronto
C. Bosh C. Bosh
15-24,  37 Pts
14 Rebs, 5 Assists
 Washington
G. Arenas G. Arenas
9-29,  34 Pts
4 Rebs, 7 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Friday, Mar 30