Raptors 107, Bobcats 94
Bosh had 24 points and 16 rebounds and the Raptors clinched their first playoff spot since 2002 with a 107-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday night.
Juan Dixon added 15 points for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, who are third in the Eastern Conference, which would give them home court in at least the first round.
“It means a lot to me,” said Bosh, who signed an extension with Toronto last summer. “It quiets the people who were like ‘Why did you come here? Why didn’t go you to the States?’ It’s just a good feeling that my beliefs have paid off and it’s turned to reality.”
General manager Bryan Colangelo has turned around a team that went 27-55 last season. The Raptors hired him away from Phoenix last season.
“He brought a winning attitude. He brought it out of everybody,” Bosh said. “It starts from management.”
Walter Herrmann had 22 points for the Bobcats.
Toronto began the game on a 14-4 run and never trailed. Bosh made his first five shots. He finished 9-for-16 and made all six of his free throw attempts. The first-time All-Star starter is averaging 16 rebounds in his last three games.
Toronto won its third straight despite missing No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani (appendectomy) and forward Jose Garbajosa (left ankle surgery).
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell, who doesn’t have a contract for next year, refused to answer questions about his status before the game. He was proud about what they accomplished after.
“You feel gratification for the guys, the organization, the fans and what we have been through over the past two and a half seasons to get to this point,” Mitchell said. “I’m happy for them, the coaches and myself included, but we still got some things that we want to try to accomplish. We want to win the division and then try to get home court, go into the playoffs playing well, try to get healthy and then make some noise as well.”
The Raptors beat Washington and Miami in their previous games. Both teams are chasing Toronto for the third seed in the playoffs.
Toronto’s reserves outscored Charlotte’s 48-31, and the Raptors outrebounded the Bobcats 48-34.
Toronto went 26-for-29 from the line.
Six Raptors scored in double figures.
Toronto led by as many as 18.
“The entire game went their way,” Charlotte’s Emeka Okafor said. “They were trying to get that playoff berth and clinch it. They came out and did a great job playing and they got it.”
Bargnani missed his sixth straight game, but sat on the bench in a suit for the first time since having the surgery. … The Raptors now visit Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia. … Toronto started the year 2-8. … Herrmann was a point short of his career-high, set in Charlotte’s previous game.