Bosh, streaking Raptors drop Lakers for 5th straight win

TORONTO -- Kobe Bryant thinks Chris Bosh is an MVP candidate.

Elias Says

Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh scored 29 points in Toronto's 96-92 win over the Lakers. He converted 10 consecutive field-goal attempts during the game, the second-longest streak of his career. He made 15 straight shots last month in a win against Washington. Elias Says.

Bosh had 29 points and 11 rebounds, Bryant missed a potential tying 3-pointer in the final seconds and the Toronto Raptors won their season-high fifth straight, 96-92 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Fans chanted "MVP! MVP!" when Bosh went to the line late in the game.

"Everybody is going to be up there for MVP," Bryant said. "I think he's a legitimate candidate just because of what he's been able to do with this team, with this franchise and how he's performed. He made some big shots down the stretch. I love everything about him, I love his game, I love his work ethic. He definitely has my approval."

Bosh scored five of Toronto's last 10 points after Los Angeles rallied to tie after trailing by 11.

The Raptors (27-23) matched their win total from last season. They needed 80 games last season to reach 27 wins.

"This is a lot different from last year," said Bosh, a first-time All-Star starter. "Last year guys got rattled a little bit and made mistakes. We're just moving the ball so well and relying on one another."

Anthony Parker added 18 points and Andrea Bargnani had 14 for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, who have won seven straight at home and 14 of 18 overall.

Toronto is just four games behind Detroit for first place the Eastern Conference. The Raptors play in Detroit on Saturday.

Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said the Raptors play in a weak division, but they're improving.

"You are what you are at this point in the season. There's a lot of teams with injuries in their division. New Jersey has a variety of injuries, Philadelphia is having a down year and Boston can't get righted with [Paul] Pierce out for a long time. New York is improving," Jackson said. "They got a division that they are fortunate to be in this year, but they are starting to make themselves proud of what they're doing."

Bryant scored 25 points for the Lakers, who dropped to 3-4 on their eight-game road trip. Los Angeles lost in Detroit on Thursday night.

"I'll go with that for sure," Bryant said when asked about fatigue. "We didn't play with the kind of enthusiasm, the kind of passion we needed for this kind of game. They jumped on us for three quarters and we managed to make a game of it somehow in the fourth, but they hit timely shots."

Bosh's rebound and layup gave Toronto an 86-75 lead with 5:41 left, but the Lakers followed with an 11-0 run to tie it. Bryant made a layup and Brian Cook, Smush Parker and Maurice Evans made consecutive 3-pointers.

Bryant's layup with 2:41 left gave Los Angeles its first lead since the second quarter, but Bosh followed with a jumper. Bryant's driving dunk gave the Lakers the lead again, but Morris Peterson made a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:49 left to give Toronto a 93-92 lead.

Cook missed a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left before Bosh made a free throw before missing one with 12 seconds remaining. Parker grabbed the offensive rebound and made 1-of-2 free throws to give Toronto a 95-92 lead with 11 seconds left.

Bryant faked out Jorge Garbajosa before putting up a shot from top of the key, but the ball hit off the rim. Bosh grabbed the rebound with 0.2 seconds left and made 1-of-2 free throws.

"We forced them into tough shots," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "They hit some 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but our defense was pretty good."

The Raptors shot 48.6 percent compared to 43.2 for the Lakers.

Toronto went 9-for-19 from beyond the arc. Bargnani had four 3-pointers and Peterson had three.

Toronto finished the third quarter on a 12-5 run, highlighted by Bargnani's two 3-pointers.

Game notes
The Raptors are 5-17 against the Lakers. ... The Raptors had their best ever in-season week for ticket sales this week. ... Bosh made 10 straight shots after starting 1-for-4 from the field.