Raptors 109, Wizards 104

With All-Star Chris Bosh nursing a sore ankle, Jarrett Jack

declared himself the go-to guy for the Toronto Raptors. Then he

went out and delivered.

Jack had 23 points and eight assists, Antoine Wright scored a

season-high 19 points and Toronto beat the Washington Wizards

109-104 on Saturday night, the Raptors’ ninth victory in 10 home

games.

“Jarrett carried us,” Wright said. “He went over to coach and

said he wanted the ball and he made good things happen. It’s one

thing to request the ball, it’s another thing to actually make

things happen. He was aggressive on the pick-and-roll, he got to

the basket and got fouled. That’s what we needed.”

Jack scored 11 in the fourth, including seven straight in one

stretch, helping Toronto overcome a nine-point deficit.

“We know how desperately we need these wins coming down the

stretch, making this final push at the end of the season,

especially the ones at home,” Jack said. “They’re very crucial,

they’re very vital to how things are going to play out in the

standings. We can’t let these opportunities slip through our

fingers.”

Andrea Bargnani added 18 points, Hedo Turkoglu had 16, and Rasho

Nesterovic and Jose Calderon each had 10 for Toronto, which topped

100 points for the 20th straight game and won its second straight

with Bosh sidelined by a sprained left ankle.

Bosh, who missed his second straight game, was injured in the

fourth quarter Wednesday night in a home loss to Memphis and did

not travel to New Jersey for Friday night’s win over the Nets, the

first game he’d missed all season.

Andray Blatche scored 24 points, and Josh Howard had 17 as the

Wizards failed win three straight for the first time this season.

Randy Foye added 14 points, and Al Thornton and JaVale McGee each

had 10 for Washington.

“We put ourselves in position, we couldn’t make a big shot to

withstand their momentum,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said.

The Wizards led 100-91 with 5:40 left, but Jack hit a 3-pointer,

then made four straight free throws to make it a two-point game.

After the Wizards turned it over on a shot-clock violation,

Turkoglu gave the Raptors a 101-100 lead with a three-point

play.

Bargnani blocked shots on the next two possessions, giving

Washington seven straight empty trips. At the other end, Wright

dunked and Turkoglu made a bank shot to cap a 14-0 Toronto run,

making it 105-100 with 1:34 remaining.

Bargnani had three of his four blocks during a 2-minute stretch

in the fourth.

“Most people look to Chris as being our interior defensive

guy,” Jack said. “I thought Andrea, the last two ballgames, has

done a great job of being that physical presence we need down

low.”

Blatche scored baskets on both sides of Calderon’s two free

throws, making it 107-104 with six seconds left, but Jack made two

more from the line to keep Toronto safe.

“We should have had this game stowed away,” Blatche said. “We

just made a couple of mistakes down the line and they made us pay

for it.”

Nevertheless, Washington has looked better since trading away

Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, Antawn Jamison and DeShawn Stevenson

over the past 10 days. Toronto coach Jay Triano said before the

game that the moves have “cleansed” the Wizards, a sentiment

Blatche shares.

“We’re getting better,” Blatche said. “I like our attitude, I

like our hustle. We’re going to be a great team.”

Blatche scored 14 points in the third as the Wizards used a 22-6

run to erase a 10-point deficit. Washington led 88-85 heading into

the fourth.

NOTES: Wright was called for a technical foul in the third. …

After missing a dunk in the first, Turkoglu removed his protective

mask in the second. Turkoglu, who fractured his orbital bone in a

collision with Indiana’s Mike Dunleavey on Jan. 31, also removed

his mask Friday at New Jersey. … Toronto played its first

Saturday night home game since Feb 3, 2001. The Air Canada Centre

is usually reserved for Maple Leafs hockey games on Saturday

nights, but the NHL is currently on an Olympic break.