Bosh, Bargnani lead Raptors past Rockets

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TORONTO (AP)—The Houston Rockets didn’t feel much like winners after grinding out a four-point home victory on Wednesday.

They were surefire losers in Toronto on Friday night.

Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani each scored 19 points and the Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak with an emphatic 94-73 victory over the Rockets, handing Houston its fourth defeat in six games.

“For us, it’s embarrassing,” Houston guard Rafer Alston said. “I think they want to hand out pink slips and fines the way we’ve been approaching our game and going about our business lately.”

Alston hinted at discord in Houston’s locker room when asked whether the team is on the same page.

“Not at all, not one bit,” he said. “We had this happen the other night in Houston and it happened tonight. It’s sad and it’s unfortunate.”

Houston led by 15 against Milwaukee on Wednesday, then saw its lead cut to one before winning 85-81. Afterward, the Rockets said it didn’t feel like a victory.

For Toronto, Friday’s win brought relief after a stretch that saw the Raptors drop 13 of 17, including four straight at home.

“We needed that,” Bosh said. “Everybody was thinking about the whole New Year thing and how to start off fresh, just get a change in momentum. That was a good win for us. We were overdue for it.”

Joey Graham had 10 points, and Anthony Parker had eight points and eight rebounds in the Raptors’ first home victory since a 101-88 victory over Indiana on Dec. 10.

“We were gritty,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. “On every possession there was real focus.”

Toronto held Houston to a season low in points. The Rockets’ previous low was Nov. 14 in a 77-75 loss at San Antonio.

“I didn’t like the way we played the whole game,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman grumbled. “It just wasn’t there, we weren’t in synch. Everything was one-on-one isolation. There was very little movement.”

Reserve Von Wafer led Houston with 18 points. Yao Ming scored 14 points, Ron Artest added 12, and Luis Scola had eight points and 13 rebounds.

Former Raptors star Tracy McGrady, bothered by a sore left knee, was held to four points on 2-for-9 shooting.

“I got a little frustrated at times,” McGrady said. “It’s kind of hard to get in the groove when you’re only touching the ball once every five minutes.”

McGrady started but said he will skip Saturday’s game at Atlanta and is only expected to play every other game during a stretch of three back-to-backs over the next nine days.

Bosh scored six straight points as Toronto ended the first quarter with a 14-2 run to open a 25-14 lead. Houston cut it to 31-30 with 6:32 remaining in the second, but Bargnani scored eight straight points for the Raptors to build a 48-38 lead at the half.

Bargnani opened the third quarter with five more points, part of a 9-2 run that gave Toronto a 57-40 advantage.

“He’s been playing well,” Bosh said of Bargnani. “He’s taken the challenge on defense and on offense. He’s doing a good job.”

Houston shot 4-for-22 in the third, scoring only 10 points, and trailed 69-48 heading into the fourth.

Already without forward Jermaine O’Neal, who missed his second straight game with a sore right knee, Toronto lost guard Jose Calderon to a strained right hamstring early in the second quarter.

“Nobody expected us to win tonight,” Bosh said. “Not only did we win, we won in convincing fashion.”

Calderon, who came in third in the NBA with 9.0 assists per game, sustained the injury while driving to the basket late in the first. Calderon returned in the second but lasted just a few possessions before signaling to the bench for a substitution. He is day-to-day.

For Calderon, who missed two November games with the same injury, it was the first time he failed to record an assist since a 102-98 win at Indiana last Feb. 25, a stretch of 57 games.

Notes

Toronto had not lost five straight at home since March 29 to April 9, 2006. … The Rockets were 7-for-27 from 3-point range. … All of Wafer’s points came in the fourth. … Houston forward Shane Battier (sore left foot) missed his second straight game, and is expected to miss at least five more. … Former NFL quarterbacks Doug Flutie and Jesse Palmer attended the game.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Houston
V. Wafer Von Wafer
7-9,  18 Pts
1 Rebs, 1 Assists
 Toronto
A. Bargnani Andrea Bargnani
8-12,  19 Pts
6 Rebs, 1 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Friday, Jan 2