Bobcats-Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors seem to playing their best basketball as

they get ready to try to avenge their worst loss of the season.

The Raptors will try to extend their season-high win streak to

five Wednesday night when they host the Charlotte Bobcats, who have

lost six straight on the road.

Toronto (15-17) is turning in its best stretch of defense during

this win streak, holding opponents under 100 points in each game to

improve to 12-0 when doing so.

“It’s not a big deal to us,” forward Chris Bosh said. “You start

thinking about that, you’ll lose 98-99.”

Bosh led the way with 25 points and 16 rebounds Sunday in a

102-95 victory over Detroit. Jarrett Jack added 17 points and

Andrea Bargnani scored 16.

The Pistons shot 40.0 percent, marking the third straight game

Toronto has held an opponent to 40 percent or less.

“We’re playing better defense and everything, we still can work

on our rebounding,” Bosh said. “But we’re finding a way to win

basketball games, that’s the best part for me. I don’t really care

how you do it, I just like to win.”

Toronto will be facing Charlotte (12-17) for the first time

since the Bobcats posted their most lopsided victory in franchise

history, 116-81 on Nov. 25. Gerald Wallace had 31 points and 13

rebounds and Stephen Jackson added 23 points for the Bobcats, who

held the Raptors to their lowest point total of the season.

That game, though, was in Charlotte and the Bobcats have been a

different team away from home. They are 1-13 on the road for the

second-worst mark in the league.

“We’ve gotta figure out something on the road,” Wallace said. “I

think Toronto, they’re a great offensive team. They have shooters

all the way out to the assistant coaches. So we’re going to have to

figure out something for us.”

Wallace had 21 points and 14 rebounds in a 94-84 home victory

over Milwaukee on Monday in which Charlotte led by 22 at halftime

and had five players finish in double figures in points. That

effort came on the heels of a 98-91 loss at Oklahoma City on

Saturday.

“That’s a great win after Oklahoma City to come out with that

kind of energy,” coach Larry Brown said. “And we got a lot of guys’

help.”

Flip Murray scored 16 off the bench and Stephen Graham added

11.

“Our bench players came in and did a great job for us,” Wallace

said. “They brought great energy. They provided great offense and

defense and they were key to this win tonight.”

The Bobcats will be looking to again neutralize Jack, who made 1

of 9 shots and matched a season low with two points in last month’s

meeting. Jack has played much better since moving into the starting

lineup Dec. 8, averaging 13.0 points and 5.9 assists while shooting

52.9 percent.

“You don’t want to get too high or too low because it’s a long

season,” Jack said. “It’s only 31 games. We haven’t eclipsed the

mark that we really want to get to yet.”